Elite Referee Philip Farrugia and National Assistant Referees Ryan Aquilina and Rick Heckenlaible were each awarded a Diploma from UEFA following their successful participation in the 24th CORE (Centre of Refereeing Excellence) Programme.
UEFA had established CORE at an Executive Meeting in Malta in January 2010 to provide intense development courses for young potential FIFA Referees and Assistant Referees from all National Associations.
Twenty-six year old Philip Farrugia, twenty-eight year old Ryan Aquilina and twenty-four year old Rick Heckenlaible were the fifth young refereeing trio from Malta to take part in UEFA’s CORE Programme since its inception. Philip’s coach was Manuel Lopez Fernandez (Spain), while Tom Murphy (Scotland) was the appointed assistant referees’ coach for Ryan and Rick. Jean-Baptist Bultynck (Belgium) and Sandor Safar (Hungary) were the assigned fitness coaches.
Following an introductory ten-day course with their coaches in October 2014, the three Maltese match officials were invited back for a seven-day Consolidation Course that was held between 26th March and 1st April 2015. Both courses were held at UEFA’s Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. The highlight of the consolidation course was a match in Switzerland on Saturday 28th March between UGS Geneve and Sarraz Eclepens (3-0), a challenging match with two penalties and a red card against the away team.
To achieve the CORE Diploma in Refereeing, Philip Farrugia, Ryan Aquilina and Rick Heckenlaible were assessed in various areas, including the fluency in the English language, fitness condition, technical performance, attitude and organisation. A notable progress between the introductory and the consolidation course was reached by the three Maltese match officials in their technical ability, fitness test results, body weight and body fat composition.
The success of these young Maltese match officials speaks volumes about the MFA Refereeing Department’s continuous efforts to support the development of our talented referees and assistant referees.