The seventeen match officials on the international list for 2016 were presented with the FIFA badges by MFA vice-president and Referees Committee chairman Alex Manfre and Director of Refereeing Adrian Casha at the Grand Hotel Excelsior on Monday. There are four new referees on the FIFA list, namely referees Trustin Farrugia Cann and Fyodor Zammit, assistant referee Luke Portelli and futsal referee Clinton Mario Cassar.
Director of Refereeing Adrian Casha said this was a day of celebration for the refereeing sector and the local game as Malta had for the first time seventeen officials with FIFA badges. He said that until two years ago, there were only thirteen Maltese officials on the FIFA list but hopefully in a year’s time, the amount would increase further.
Casha said that the four new referees on the FIFA panel had a very important quality – that of perseverance. He said Fyodor Zammit and Trustin Farrugia Cann were consistent throughout the years; Luke Portelli had missed out last year on making it to the list but worked hard and achieved it while Clint Cassar, who had been nominated twice in past, had decided to quit but came back and managed to achieve it the FIFA badge.
The MFA Director of Refereeing stressed that perseverance and consistence were important keys for refereeing and that in a competitive world, if one slacks a bit, he would be overtaken by someone else.
Adrian Casha mentioned some achievements by the local match officials, including the appointment of Alan Camilleri as international assistant referee for the fourteenth year; the fact that Jude Amin Utulu controlled with success matches from four prestigious competitions in Beach Soccer making him one of the best sixteen beach soccer referees in the world; Alan Mario Sant and Esther Azzopardi who did well in the UEFA Under-17 finals and the Women’s Under-19 final tournament respectively; Marco Borg and Esther Azzopardi’s participation in the World University Games.
Casha said Clayton Pisani was competing with several professional referees and renewed his appeal for referees on the FIFA panel to be on a professional or semi-professional scheme. He also praised Franco Cachia for encouraging Clint Cassar to make his comeback despite possible competition for the FIFA badge and Trustin Farrugia Cann for offering to control matches from the Luxol Under-14 tournament recently.
He thanked Adrian Azzopardi who had served on the FIFA panel for the last year and presented Marco Borg and Ingmar Spiteri with a memento after serving on the FIFA panel as referee between 2008 and 2015 and as assistant referee between 2000 and 2015 respectively.
Adrian Casha thanked Kevin Azzopardi and Paul Caruana for the hard work being done in the MFA Referees Academy and said that in the coming months, a new project with regards to grassroots will be launched thanks to which there will be more personalised support for the future referees. He revealed that the Refereeing Department will continue to create new opportunities for referees abroad and revealed that an agreement was reached with Malta Training Camps with regards to opportunities for local referees to control friendly matches of foreign teams visiting Malta.
Meanwhile MFA vice-president and Referees Committee chairman Alex Manfre also addressed those present and while congratulating those officials receiving the FIFA Badge, he advised up-and-coming referees from the Academy to keep their feet on the ground in order to follow the steps of the referees on the international list.
The referees on the FIFA Panel for 2016 are:
FIFA Referees: Trustin Farrugia Cann, Clayton Pisani, Alan Mario Sant and Fyodor Zammit
FIFA Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, William Debattista, Luke Portelli, Mitchell Scerri, Edward Spiteri, Jurgen Spiteri, Duncan Sultana, Roberto Vella
FIFA Woman Referee: Esther Azzopardi
FIFA Futsal Referees: Franco Cachia, Clinton Mario Cassar
FIFA Beach Soccer Referees: Stefan Pace, Jude Amin Utulu