The MFA Refereeing Department in collaboration with the Malta Football Referees Association will be organising a pre-season training camp and seminar for its Elite and Category I match officials and referees observers abroad.
This year this will be held at the GLOBALL Football Park and Sport Hotel in Telki, Hungary – a hotel designed for football and owned by the Hungarian Football Federation.
MFA Head of Refereeing Adrian Casha said that 34 match officials ad 12 referee observers/technical staff will be going for this training camp and seminar. FIFA Instructor Steve Bennett wil be the main speaker at this seminar.
Other instructors include Detein Baialtzaliev from Bulgaria and local instructors Charles Agius, Alex Arena and Adrian Casha. Top Hungarian FIFA Referee Viktor Kassai will also deliver a presentation about Communication in Football Refereeing while FIFA Assistant Referee Mitchell Scerri will address participants about his successful participation in the UEFA Under-19 Championship finals.
MFA Referees’ Fitness Coach Ronald Zammit shall conduct daily physical training sessions. Body composition tests will be carried out on each match official.
Adrian Casha said last year’s theme was “Growth” while this year’s will be “The Will to Excel”. He said that in refereeing one had to target excellence and that one could not be satisfied with being second best.
The MFA Head of Refereeing said the refereeing department and the association have been doing their very best to improve the level of refereeing and this can be clearly demonstrated by the fact that local match officials received nine international appointments in just six weeks. Casha stressed that this was not the result of some sort of lobbying but only the result of hard work.
He also said that funds obtained are being re-invested in this sector, making possible such initiatives.
Casha said the number of referees last year increased by eighteen per cent and once again last year, there was an increase of twelve per cent. The number increased from ninety to one hundred and eighteen. The MFA Refereeing Department, in fact, took a number of initiatives in this respect.
The Talent and Mentor Programme is a specialised two-year programme for referees and assistant referees under the age of 32 who possess the potential of making it to the FIFA Panel in future. The chosen referees are a selected few and each set of three or four referees from the same category have a mentor. At the end of the first year, only those showing promise and commitment are allowed to proceed to the second year. At the end of the second year, the MFA Referees Committee decides which candidates deserve a Diploma in Refereeing following an assessment by their mentors on the talents’ technical knowledge, fitness, attitude and organisation.
The Referees’ Academy is another initiative which was launched in December 2011, offering a two-year programme for males and females aged 13 to 17. The Academy students meet on Saturday mornings for a lecture about the Laws of the Game followed by a practical session where the youngsters are given the opportunity to act as referees and assistant referees and are then given feedback by an instructor. Those who complete the two-year programme are awarded a certificate and allowed to join the MFA as a Category 4 referee.
Malta Football Referees Association vice-president Alexander Arena said the association was one of the main contributors in the organisation of the training camp and seminar. He said these are not only held for top referees but for all match officials as the association was committed towards referee development.
MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo, together with Adrian Casha, presented the diplomas and certificates to those completing the two programmes. Andre Arciola, Matthew De Gabriele, Philip Farrugia, Trustin Farrugia Cann, Etienne Mangion, Luke Portelli, Glen Tonna, Jude Amin Utulu, Roberto Vella and Fyodor Zammit were presented with the Diploma in Refereeing after completing the Talent & Mentor Programme 2011-13. On the other hand, Darya Attard, Tyron Cardona, Ryan Caruana, Jurgen Ciantar, Nicole Cutajar, Jordie Delia, Kathleen Hamilton, Leanne Mifsud, Daniel Portelli and Chantel Spiteri were presented with the certificates as the first graduates of the Referees’ Academy.
Meanwhile the MFRA announced the extension of the FXDD sponsorship for new referees’ kits to be worn in the next two years. FXDD has been providing each match official with hundreds of euros of equipment including kits, training apparel and footwear.
MFRA President Lorry Sammut said that after the first agreement, signed in January 2011, the association is benefitting from another good sponsorship. Apart from the equipment which every referee receives, thanks to this sponsorship, the MFRA together with the MFA, can organise seminars for all referees.
Sammut thanked FXDD Finance and Operations Manager Fiona Soler, MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo, CEO Bjorn Vassallo and the MFA administration and also Andre Arciola and Alan Camilleri thanks to which the MFRA had reached the first sponsorship agreement with FXDD.
Fiona Soler said that since the first agreement, the relationship between the two parties has matured. The company is now also one of the main sponsors of the national team and the Futsal Malta Association.