Following close relations with the Irish Football Association, a group of 40 match officials and referee observers led by Alan Snoddy, Head of the Refereeing Sector in Northern Ireland, were recently in Malta for their Winter Training Camp. This was the second time that Malta was chosen as the venue for this annual event in the past 5 years.
During the training camp, FIFA Referee Arnold Hunter assisted by assistant referees Richard Storey and Ken Ross, were in charge of the Under-21 International Friendly Match, Malta vs Austria, played at the Hibernians Stadium in Corradino. An in-depth analysis of the referees’ performance was carried out on the morrow of the match as an important part of the Camp.
Elite Referee Trustin Farrugia Cann was invited to attend this training camp, while Maltese Referees and Assistant Referees on the FIFA List were also invited for dinner and participated in a social quiz with their Irish counterparts on one of the evenings.
Malta FA President, Norman Darmanin Demajo, was invited to make the opening speech at this Training Camp, whereby he welcomed our friends from Northern Ireland, mentioning the fact that the referee exchange programme between the two countries in these last couple of years has been a successful initiative not only with them but also with a good number of other European countries. The Malta FA President emphasised that such initiatives on the part of the Malta FA are also beneficial in promoting sports tourism to the Maltese Islands.
Besides sessions of technical nature at the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, the Irish Match Officials underwent practical sessions at the nearby Pembroke Athleta Football Club Training Facilities. One of these practical sessions was managed by Maltese Assistant Referees’ Coach Philip Agius and focused mainly on assistant referees’ movement, positioning and decision making.
At the end of the Training Camp, Alan Snoddy expressed optimum satisfaction at having chosen Malta as the destination of such an important event for Northern Ireland’s top match officials and referee observers and augured further collaboration between the two countries.
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