In a bid to enhance their expertise and ensure a thorough understanding of the latest updates to the laws of the game, elite match officials convened for an intensive pre-season seminar over the weekend. The seminar, spanning three days, proved to be an invaluable opportunity for these officials to refine their skills and address the unique challenges they encounter on the field. The distinguished guest speaker for this event was none other than former Italian referee, Matteo Trefoloni.
Matteo Trefoloni, with his wealth of experience and intricate understanding of the game, took the center stage during the seminar. He captivated the audience with his insights into two crucial aspects of officiating – SPA (Stopping a Promising Attack) and DOGSO (Denial of an Obvious Goal-Scoring Opportunity). SPA, often accompanied by a yellow card, is a decision that aims to curtail a potential attacking play in its tracks. On the other hand, DOGSO, a red card offense, involves denying an unmistakable chance for a goal. Trefoloni delved into the intricacies of these situations, dissecting real-life scenarios and providing match officials with a deeper perspective on how to accurately apply these rules.
Photos courtesy of Walter Sargent
Alan M Sant, Chairman of the Referees Committee, added another layer to the seminar’s discourse with his focus on “smart refereeing.” This approach centers on the judicious use of technology and effective communication among match officials to make informed decisions. The evolving landscape of the game necessitates a dynamic approach to officiating, and Sant’s emphasis on smart refereeing highlighted the importance of leveraging available tools while upholding the integrity of the sport.
However, the seminar wasn’t solely confined to theoretical discussions. Practical application played a pivotal role as well. Officials underwent a battery of tests, including body fat assessments and on-field exercises. These exercises aimed to enhance their physical readiness for the demanding nature of refereeing at the elite level. The combination of theoretical insights and practical drills helped create a comprehensive learning experience for the match officials.
In addition to the main sessions led by Matteo Trefoloni and Alan M Sant, the pre-season seminar for elite match officials featured sessions by former referees Mario Apap and Clayton Pisani, as well as ex-assistant referee Edward Spiteri, who covered various nuances of officiating. Their diverse experiences and perspectives enriched the seminar, ensuring that the match officials received a well-rounded education.