Maltese referees at UEFA's Centre of Refereeing Excellence Course in Nyon

Elite Referee Fyodor Zammit and Elite Assistant Referees Luke Portelli and Emanuel Grech are the third refereeing trio representing the Malta Football Association at the Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE) for Referees and Assistant Referees, organised by UEFA at its headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

The Course started on Tuesday 9th October and terminates on Thursday 18th October. UEFA Referees’ Committee member responsible for Malta, David Elleray, is the Senior Course Leader for CORE Courses. Peter Jones, also from England, has been assigned as the Referees’ Coach for the Maltese Refereeing Trio under the leadership of Elite Referee Fyodor Zammit while Leif Lindberg (Sweden) and David Babski (England) have been assigned as Assistant Referees’ Coaches. The physical preparation is under the able hands of Fitness Coaches Joao Dias (Portugal) and Vesa Kuparinen (Finland).

Other refereeing trios attending this course are from Austria, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Netherlands, Slovakia and Turkey.

The Introductory Course lasts for 10 days. The essential philosophy of the course is to familiarise the referees with the high standards of professionalism that are required by UEFA. The course is a mixture of theory and practice.

There are major presentations from the Course Leaders which convey the UEFA Referee Committee’s guidelines and expectations in major refereeing areas: serious foul challenges, confrontation, co-operation, advantage, positioning and body language.

Practical exercises involving players from local clubs and offside exercises for the assistants are filmed and analysed. Each trio gains exceptional practical experience by officiating in a match in France or Switzerland at the weekend.

The Course Leaders and coaches analyse the referees’ performances and a lot of work is done to encourage and develop each referee’s ability to analyse his own performance, and the performance of others.

On arrival in Nyon on Tuesday, all referees were examined by UEFA appointed doctors and physiotherapists and on Wednesday the Maltese trio passed the yo-yo fitness test and the English language test impressively.

The fitness education is also both theoretical and practical. Referees are given and shown how to use a Polar watch. Fitness sessions are used not just to assess and improve fitness but also to educate the referees in the different ways to train, warm up, cool down, prepare for matches and prevent injuries. All officials must run the FIFA Fitness Test on the last day of the Introductory Course next week.

A key feature of the course is encouraging referees to develop high levels of self-analysis and to set themselves targets/objectives. Each referee is encouraged to think about the areas to work on in the period leading up to the Consolidation Course. On the last afternoon of the Introductory Course the referees publicly announce in front of the camera their three main objectives. They then have to submit a detailed list of their Objectives to David Elleray and their coaches within 10 days of the end of the course.