World football’s top referee instructors have been imparting their skills and knowledge to Asia’s best officials in the first-ever combined men and women Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Elite Referees and Assistant Referees Seminar which is taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, concurrently. Pierluigi Collina, widely regarded as the best referee of his generation, joined the list of AFC instructors as a special guest at the third seminar in Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, English Premier League referee Jonathan Moss is also in Dubai to share his experiences with the continent’s officials.
More than 270 referees and assistant referees from around the continent have been divided into four groups to take part in the seminars in Dubai and the Malaysian capital from November 20-30. The five-day seminars, which share the same contents and principles, have been organised to prepare Asia’s referees for 2017 season through theoretical as well as practical sessions on the field of play. “Asian referees have been entrusted with some high-profile matches in 2016. This serves as a testament to the programmes and plans put in place to bring out the best in our men and women officials”, said Deputy Chairman of the AFC Referees Committee, Hany Taleb Ballan, who opened the first session in Kuala Lumpur. “Under the banner of One Asia, One Goal, the AFC will spare no effort in the development of our referees. Looking to 2017, we are committed to ensuring that they continue to succeed on the world’s biggest stages.” The theoretical sessions are focused on the latest updates on the Laws of the Game, analysing penalty area incidents, positioning and movement, tactical fouls and offside interpretation, among other topics. In addition, this year’s seminar also registered a major milestone through the emphasis on the psychological and mental aptitude of referees, which is becoming increasingly crucial alongside physical and theoretical competence. “Football today is far more complex than before. Being physically fit and mastering the Laws of the Game is simply not enough. Developing good psychological skills is imperative to ensure that referees are able to maintain high levels of concentration and remain calm under immense pressure”, revealed José Sánchez García, who was the psychological instructor for FIFA’s Elite Referees from 2007-2010. “This is even more so when referees have to recover quickly if they have made a bad decision. The environment created for top class players, many of whom are benefiting greatly from sport psychology, is precisely the type of setting we must create for our referees to succeed”, he added.
Chinese referee Fu Ming, who officiated the match between Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City in Shenzhen earlier this year, reflected the success of the event when he said: “The AFC is always looking for ways to improve these programmes and this gives referees great confidence and motivation to put the knowledge and experience we have gained here to good use. The opportunity to learn from the AFC and special guest instructors has been invaluable”.