The road to possible participation at UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 has begun for a group of young European female referees, who have been in Nyon for a course designed to give them crucial help as they move along their career path. Twenty-one first and second-category match officials from 19 European national associations were present at the course. The referees, from all four corners of the continent, took part in instruction sessions focussing on issues such as positioning, reading the game, handball, match management and penalty-area incidents, and were given briefings on the qualities needed if they are to succeed at the highest levels.
“Following this year’s Women’s EURO in the Netherlands, we have now begun focussing on the four-year cycle until the next Women’s EURO,” said UEFA refereeing officer Dagmar Damková. “We think that the referees that we brought to Nyon have potential, and we want to show them the way forward, because we believe that they can achieve something. So the idea is to prepare them for a time when they may become elite referees.” The young referees also tested their fitness levels – a crucial attribute as women’s football increases rapidly in technical, tactical and fitness terms. “One day, if they join the elite group,” Damková explained, “the referees will go on UEFA’s summer and winter courses, and will have to pass fitness tests – so we have been guiding and advising them in what to expect in this regard.” The referees have taking charge of domestic and UEFA matches, including games in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, and some have also already taken part in the UEFA Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE) programme that trains up-and-coming match officials for future assignments. The Nyon course reflected UEFA’s commitment to nurturing female referees in all categories as part of a comprehensive overall development strategy. “It’s a positive factor that we are constantly enhancing development work with women officials,” said Damková, “to include not only the elite levels, but also promising referees in other categories. We’re want the young referees to grab this chance. We have four years before the EURO in 2021 to monitor them and train them to be part of the next top-level generation”.