The Malta FA Refereeing Department organised a Weekend Retreat for its young referees currently following a two-year programme at the Referees’ Academy between 6th and 8th March.
The Referees’ Academy is in its fourth season of operation and prepares young males and females aged 15-18 years old to join the mainstream of match officials.
Eighteen Academy Students took part in this season’s Weekend Retreat held at the Pergola Hotel & Spa in Mellieha. The Academy Weekend consisted of classroom presentations, a practical outdoor session and an analysis of the BOV Premier League match, Birkirkara vs Sliema Wanderers, which the students analysed together with the appointed referee Trustin Farrugia Cann and the appointed observer Alexander Arena.
Director of Refereeing Adrian Casha welcomed participants and encouraged them to enjoy a weekend of living together and learning about various aspects of the Laws of the Game.
Manuel Lopez Fernandez, a reknowned speaker in world football and psychological instructor for FIFA Elite Referees, addressed participants about ‘The Ideal Match Official’ and ‘Basic Requirements for Efficient Performances’.
Zuleika Azzopardi, Neil Carbonaro and Ryan Caruana, themselves former Academy students who graduated last year, delivered an impeccable presentation about their determination to overcome emotional and physical difficulties that came their way.
Other presentations were delivered by Alexander Arena about ‘Use of Cards – Aid to Communication’ and ‘Simulation’, Paul Caruana about ‘Match Preparation’, Philip Agius about ‘Offside’, Kevin Azzopardi about ‘Penalty Area Decisions’, Adrian Casha about ‘Freekick Management’, Gjergji Bitri about ‘Futsal and Beach Soccer Refereeing’ and Lawrence Sammut about ‘The Role of the Malta Football Referees Association’.
Adrian Casha conducted an interesting Video Test about World Cup 2014 Match Situations, while Kevin Azzopardi conducted an enjoyable Laws of the Game Quiz. The winners were presented with FIFA gifts and promotional material.
The outdoor practical session coordinated by Philip Agius and Paul Caruana and held at a football pitch provided by Mellieha Sports Club, comprised of flag techniques, positioning, reflexes to incidents in vicinity, concentration techniques, coordination and teamwork. In the football match that followed, participants took it in turns to act as referees and assistant referees respectively, and hands on advice was given by the instructors present.
In his closing address, MFA General Secretary Bjorn Vassallo encouraged the Association’s young recruits to work hard, set goals and enjoy refereeing.