“Aiming higher” was the theme of the MFA Refereeing Department’s pre-season training this year, which started with a one-day seminar for referee observers at the Victoria Hotel in Sliema on Saturday 8th August.
The seminar was attended by twenty-five referee observers, including seven newcomers who earlier in the week attended an introductory course at the MFA Refereeing Department.
The main instructor at this seminar was Director of Refereeing Adrian Casha and the programme included a Laws of the Game Test. Various match situations were analysed in small groups and the appropriate interpretation was given during a plenary session.
An interesting session was the discussion about four UEFA Referee Observer reports, which were analysed by participants at home prior to submitting their marks for the match officials’ performances. The different assessments confirmed the importance of uniformity between referee observers, based on the guidelines issued by UEFA.
‘The Marking System: A More Uniform Approach’ was in fact the topic dealt with by Referee Instructor Gaetano De Gabriele, who emphasised that the final assessment mark should reflect the contents of the whole report and that a referee observer is a coach not a fault finder.
Refereeing Officers Kevin Azzopardi and Gjergi Bitri explained the new administrative procedures to ensure more efficiency in the way written feedback reaches match officials within the stipulated deadline.
FIFA Referee Alan Mario Sant was a guest speaker at this seminar and he highlighted the referees’ perspective of referee observer reports. He encouraged participants to be positive in their feedback by encouraging match officials to perform better in their future matches.
In the seminar’s conclusion, guest participant Alain Hamer from Luxembourg remarked to the Maltese referee observers that the training being given to match officials and referee observers in Malta is of the highest calibre, and that it is no wonder that a small association like the Malta FA has FIFA Referees reaching higher rankings in FIFA and UEFA.