Last week the local refereeing community had the privilege to welcome Hugh Dallas MBE, UEFA Refereeing Officer, UEFA Referees’ Committee Member, and former FIFA referee to oversee the work being carried out by the Malta FA Refereeing Department.
Hugh Dallas’ first encounter was with the young males and females attending the Referees’ Academy at the start of its third year of operation. This was followed by a meeting with the Malta FA Referees’ Committee where he was given an overview of the work of each committee member. A meeting with the Malta FA CEO Bjorn Vassallo was also scheduled, during which Hugh Dallas gave very positive feedback about the refereeing set-up and standard of local match officials.
During his stay Hugh Dallas watched 6 refereeing teams in action during BOV Premier League matches and conducted a seminar for referee observers and a technical meeting for match officials and observers.
Addressing referee observers at the start of the seminar held at the Refereeing Department Conference Hall on Sunday 24th November, Hugh Dallas expressed his positive impressions about the reform undertaken by the Refereeing Department and pointed out that the success of our referees depends on the advice given by referee observers.
Hugh Dallas addressed participants about UEFA Guidelines for Referee Observers and The Impact of Match Incidents on the Final Mark. Prior to the seminar, 4 UEFA Observer Reports without assessment marks were sent to referee observers to evaluate and submit a mark and level of difficulty for each match official. During the seminar Hugh Dallas gave feedback about the marks and levels of difficulty submitted by the referee observers and outlined the importance of good judgement and uniformity in observations being carried out.
Hugh Dallas spoke also about the role of each match official in a match, the de-brief after the match, the review of the DVD of the match, and the referees’ observer report itself. He repeatedly remarked that “referee observers are the referees’ teachers” apart from “being the eyes of the Association.”
During his sessions, Hugh Dallas made use of the latest FIFA/UEFA Referee Assistance Programme DVD showing a number of match incident clips regarding teamwork, hand and flag signals, personality, positioning, illegal challenges with the arm, disciplinary measures, application of advantage, denying of goal scoring opportunity, simulation, and control of the 9.15metre regulamentary distance. All the clips shown were very good teaching material to identify the positive points and the development areas.
In his conclusion to the above, Hugh Dallas highlighted courage and honesty as two personal characteristics which a top referee must possess.
The technical meeting held on Monday 25th November at a packed Centenary Hall was Hugh Dallas’ main encounter with all categories of match officials and referee observers.
In his introduction, Hugh Dallas stated that “Malta brings special memories to me as this was the place where my international career took off in 1993, until match after match, year after year, ten years later I was a 4th Official with Pierluigi Collina at the 2002 World Cup Final in South Korea/Japan.”
During the technical meeting, Hugh Dallas addressed participants about Offside, The Use of Additional Assistant Referees, and Match Incidents from the BOV Premier League Match Qormi vs Sliema Wanderers, played the day before.
At the end of the technical meeting, Director of Refereeing Adrian D. Casha thanked Hugh Dallas for his outstanding support and excellent presentations throughout the whole weekend and remarked that “Hugh Dallas’s visit is surely the main highlight amongst this year’s events organised by the Malta FA Refereeing Department.”
Charles Agius as Chairman of the Malta FA Referees’ Committee and on behalf of the gathering, presented a memento to Hugh Dallas on the occasion of his visit to Malta.
In his conclusive remarks, Hugh Dallas expressed his best wishes to everyone and remarked that “the Malta FA Refereeing Set-Up and Organisation currently in place is a shining example for other national associations within UEFA to follow.”
Photo: Copyright © domenic aquilina