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Annual referee refresher underway

FIFA Refereeing Development Senior Manager Fernando Tresaco Gracia is leading the six day course which focuses on equipping referee instructors with the tools to develop the discipline across Oceania.
“We have technical instructors, fitness instructors and futsal instructors from each OFC Member Association,” Tresaco Gracia says, “and this course is very important for FIFA because the instructors are responsible for refereeing in each association.”
Tresaco Gracia says the opportunity to focus on a uniform interpretation and application of the Laws of the Game is one of the key objectives behind the annual workshop.
“Because they are tutors, instructors, in their respective countries, we provide all of them with the tools to improve their teaching and learning process because methodology is important.”
While the workshop is broken into three categories – technical, fitness and futsal – there is some crossover in respect to the common objective of improving the level of referee instructors in their respective areas.
Treasco Gracia says just because a referee has made it to the top level, does not necessarily mean they will make a successful instructor which is why methodology and teaching tools are important parts of the FUTURO III coursework.
“This programme is the framework of the FIFA Referee Assistance Programme which was approved by the FIFA Executive Committee in 2007, and since 2008 we have been doing these activities all over the world,” he says.
“So the same activities we are doing here in New Caledonia, we are organising in all the Confederations and in the past eight years we have seen big improvement with the instructors, but also big improvement in the referees.
“Because at the end of the day, the main objective of FIFA is to improve the level of referees, but we cannot do that if we don’t first upgrade the instructors.”
Tresaco Gracia has regularly made the journey to Oceania to work with, and assess, the referee instructors who take part in this annual event and says there he has witnessed great improvement during that time.
“In Oceania obviously we have more challenges because of the level of football and the associations are smaller. But we have experience with that in Africa, in CONCACAF with some of the small islands.
“I don’t see matches every day in the islands but we have seen the referees from OFC going on to FIFA competitions, especially women.
“Before there were very few women but we have seen great improvement and there are more and more women on the referee list and in beach soccer there are some great referees too.
“In general we appreciate, we realise, that the level of football and the level of referees has improved in the last few years.”
The FUTURO III is a six-day intensive course covering different aspects of referee instructing with a specific focus on the uniform interpretation of the application of the Laws of the Game.
This year New Caledonia is hosting the course from the 9-14 March with up to three participants from each of the 11 OFC Member Associations in attendance.

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