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Opportunities there for the taking

With a constant shortage of referees in Oceania he says the opportunities for improvement are always there.
“If you want to become a referee, there’s no shortage of games but there’s always a lack of referees.
“We want to improve the quality, and the consistent quality, across OFC as well.”
Hester says the introduction of an accreditation and education structure means that he’ll soon be able to compare referees in different countries.
“For those countries that maybe don’t have an accreditation structure they will be able to use this one, as well as the education programme, to educate their referees.”
In general however, Hester says increasing the number of referees in Oceania comes down to the Member Associations themselves.
“It’s all about working with the MAs as ultimately it’s their responsibility to recruit and we can provide support, guidance and mentoring,” he says.
“But it’s a process that one; is on-going, and two; takes times. So it’s a process that commences this year but won’t finish this year – and actually never finishes.
“But we will work closely with the MAs because what works in New Zealand, you can’t necessarily transfer to Samoa for example, so we need to be in the ground and working with them.”
Hester says there are some key traits that will make a successful referee.
“Probably the most important thing is a love of the game and having a mind-set of wanting to provide a service to the game and ultimately that’s what a referee has to do.
“If people starting up come with that mentality, that’s a big step.
“Knowledge can be taught, obviously, and if there is an understanding of the game and the players and what they expect, that’s an advantage.
“Plus there’s also a degree of physical fitness needed as well. The days of the referee remaining in the centre circle are long gone so it requires a bit of movement.”
Hester acknowledges that there are different levels of football and budding referees will generally start at a level that is appropriate for them, and for those who want to progress – the opportunities are there.
And his advice for referees working hard in their own countries, his advice is simple.
“Keep working hard and concentrate on the things you can control,” he states.
“You can control your own fitness, you can control your performance on matches, you can control a lot of the things that are not necessarily immediately related to the Laws of the Game, but are important.
“So attend training sessions, attend technical coaching nights, referee as many matches as you can without wearing yourself out and always look to improve.”

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