Wednesday’s afternoon session consisted of a very interesting and useful practical activity for all participants, on Editing DVDs/Selecting and Cutting clips from a DVD. FIFA lecturer Mr Steve Bennett showed hands-on the process involved in doing such an exercise from approved software. All participants were divided into eleven groups, and from selected FIFA matches had to find incidents (regarding body language, teamwork, dissent, offside, injured players, assistant referee technique, freekick management, handball, holding, advantage, management of re-starts) and transform them into clips for 5-minute presentations (which were carried out today ie. Thursday afternoon, mostly through powerpoint projections).
Thursday morning started with a Practical Training Integrated Exercises/Rotation of Activities at the nearby stadium. After a warming-up period consisting of games and exercises, the referees and assistant referees were divided into four groups according to category. Mr Bennett first dealt with offside situations where assistant referees had to decide same on the touchline while being filmed, and later on referring to these sequences to watch their own decisions, their technique and movement. In the case of the referees, Mr Bennett tackled topics such as whistling, cautions and management of freekicks outside/inside penalty area and penalty kicks. Mr Bennett said that “It is better to make mistakes during a training session rather than during a football match; by making mistakes we learn. The whole purpose of the session is to make referees and assistant referees think and learn.”
Thursday’s afternoon session, apart from the subject on Editing DVDs/Selecting and Cutting clips from a DVD, was dedicated to Group Work Activity: Playing Advantage. Again, this was an interesting topic for discussion, where on many occasions the application of advantage can confirm a referee’s match control.
Match Assessment Review, Content and Marking was the first topic covered by Mr Bennett on Friday morning, during which the fair, precise and consistent evaluation of match officials’ performance was discussed as an important tool for the improvement of refereeing standards. As a practical activity, each participant was asked to fill out a Referee Assessor’s Report after viewing a FIFA World Cup Under 17 match.
Friday’s afternoon sessions consisted of a scientific analysis of Principles of Training by Referees’ Fitness Coach Mr Ronald Zammit followed by an interesting Group Work Activity: Penalty Kicks conducted by Mr Bennett.
The seminar/training camp reaches its highlight on Friday evening with the Official Dinner, during which all participants shall be presented with FIFA Certificates and Malta FA/MFRA mementos.
A group of 32 Elite and Category One referees and assistant referees, their fitness coach, and 11 referee observers and instructors led by the Malta FA Director of Refereeing, Mr Adrian D. Casha, early yesterday morning arrived in Sliven, Bulgaria, for a pre-season seminar/training camp.
This first-ever initiative in the history of Maltese refereeing is being undertaken in collaboration with the Malta Football Referees Association (MFRA) with its president, Mr Lawrence Sammut, also forming part of the contingent.
The seminar/training camp is being conducted by the experienced FIFA Lecturer & UEFA Referee Observer Mr Steve Bennett who, as a Referee Instructor, is responsible for training, education and development (RAP) for all FIFA Confederations.
In his introductory address yesterday afternoon, Mr Adrian D. Casha, expressed his appreciation and thanks to various who helped out for this venture to materialise, namely Malta FA President Mr Norman Darmanin Demajo and CEO Mr Bjorn Vassallo, the MFRA, and Mr Detelin Baialtzaliev from the Bulgarian Football Union (who was also the main contact way back in 2003 when a group of Maltese referees visited Bulgaria as part of an MFRA exchange visit). Mr Casha said that this seminar/training camp is a learning experience for all participants, including the administrators; this will surely contribute for the consolidation of growth – the reason for being here – by working together. He concluded that later in the week, he himself and our referee instructors will be covering a number of other topics.
As a start to his lecturing, Mr Steve Bennett dealt with Trivia, Offside and Match Analysis exercises; after which there was group work on Judging Challenges with the aid of dvd clips. (In the days to follow, he will be addressing topics such as Practical Training demonstration, Editing DVDs, Playing Advantage, Positioning and Penalty Kicks).
Mr Detelin Baialtzaliev addressed participants on the subject of Yellow and Red Cards: Cheap or Compulsory?
The first day came to a close with a physical training session for all referees by their coach Mr Ronald Zammit, who later on in the week will be lecturing all participants about Principles of Training and Injury Prevention.
Early on Wednesday morning, the FIFA Fitness Test was held for all referees and assistant referees.