Referees to be assigned in a “team”

Tuesday, August 30, 2011, 13:36

by Catherine Micallef.

Maltese referees attending lunch during the seminar being organised by the MFRA

Maltese referees attending lunch during the seminar being organised by the MFRA

Early this morning, a press conference was addressed by the Malta Football Referees Association to give the media information about the work being done in the referees department. The press conference was chaired by Adrian Casha – ex-referee and Director of Refereeing, Mr Alan Snoddy – UEFA Referees Instructor and Detelin Baialtzaliev – ex-referee and Bulgarian FA senior instructor. Mark Attard MFA Media officer led the proceedings

Mr Adrian Casha started the press conference by pointing out two  new initiatives taking place in the next two weeks. “Football in Malta is in a period of change and so is refereeing – the biggest change is the positive feeling there is among referees. We are very lucky to have new administration who is supporting all our ideas, initiatives, contacts with UEFA and other associations”.

“Here in Malta not everyone realises that when we compare the standard of our refereeing  with other countries of our size, where football is not of very high quality, our referees give constantly good performances. This is reflected on the amount of FIFA referees we have on the list and positive feedback we get – all our referees, assistant referees and 4th officials get good reports and top marks” stated Casha.

There are 14 elite referees in the premier division, 16 elite assistant referees in the premier division and in total 26 of them have been involved in international appointments.

The new MFA administration believes a lot in training and the three day seminar which started yesterday  is being organised in this regard.

Mr Alan Snoddy  has been 20 years as FIFA  referee and officiated  2 during two world cup – in 1986 and 1990.

There is a new course for prospective referees going on where there are 12 candidates, 3 of which are female canditates. If they pass the tests by end of September 2011, they will be category 4 referees. “The area of recruitment is important for us and we are doing our very utmost to launch the referees academy very soon”, continued the director of refereeing.

Another new initiatives is that referees are being appointed as a team – usually referees will officiate together. An example was during the last Super Cup where the four match officials were taken to hotel for lunch on the same day of the match, given a room to rest  and were picked from the hotel to the stadium and back.

The new MFA administration also understood the need of having a chairman in the Referees committee whereby the ex-referee Charles Agius has been appointed.

Also, Mr Philip Agius  has been appointed as Assistant referees’  specialist where he shall be  looking after the technical requirements of the local assistant referees.

Another initiative is the Talent and Mentor programme where Mr Victor Mintoff has been appointed as development officer and his task will be to identify the young talents as early as grassroots.  Letters to heads of schools both in private and public sector shall be emailed soon so that PE teachers and school staff can identify children from 14 years of age who show their interest and are keen on refereeing. A special programme shall be planned so that a group of students will be taken to the stadium and watch a premier league match followed by a discussion, then watch a Youth FA match followed also by discussion and for two whole months, they will be invited to attend lectures about the Laws of the Game on Saturday mornings.

Now that the MFA launched an under 13 tournament, the MFRA is thinking of giving these candidates tthe opportunity to take the role of an assistant referee during these matches.

The last initiative is the agreement and exchange of referees with Northern Ireland. In fact the match Tarxien vs Marsaxlokk played on Sunday 16th October at the National Stadium and Mosta vs Hibernians played on Monday 17th October at the Victor Tedesco Stadium will be both officiated by Irish match officials.

On the other hand Kevin Azzopardi, Chris Francalalnza, Andre Arciola and Mitchell Scerri will officiate the Saturday 15th October premier league match in very cold temperatures in Ireland and attend also a seminar being organised there.

Due to the fact the Premier League matches have gone up to 192 matches from 132, referees in the elite and category one will not be given appointments in futsal.

The aim of the school academy is coming due to the fact that there is a strong drive for recruitng new referees and giving support to the present referees to train and control these matches.

In his final comments, Adrian Casha mentioned FIFA referee Esther Azzopardi who has a  category one in UEFA and out of the 124 international referees, she is amongst the best 29 referees in Europe.

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