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Fiji’s new referee development plan

The former FIFA official, with over 21 years of refereeing experience, has been given the dual task of attracting new referees to the game as well as raising the officiating standards.
However, Varman isn’t daunted by the challenge.
“This requires a lot of hard work but it can be done,” he says.
“Firstly, we will need to lift the discipline of our referees, their fitness and their overall professionalism.”
“We also have to identify new talent and we need to provide them with a pathway from cadet to elite level.”
In order to achieve his goals Varman designed a new theoretical and physical assessment programme.
“I put a structure and a monitoring system in place to help the development of our referees.” he says.
“Our cadet referees, who are initially credited with a provisional licence, will need to pass tests and exams every couple of years to reach elite level.
“We will introduce a new set of rigorous criteria for our referees to advance to Class Three, Class Two and finally to Class One level.
“This process will take from five to six years,” he says.
Training and fitness are also in the forefront of Varman’s reform agenda.
“My top priorities include the implementation of the FIFA referees fitness test and training courses for instructors who can identify and mentor potential referees.”
The 47-year-old former school teacher believes the shortage of referees is a major concern across Fiji.
“The game is growing and we have competitions all throughout the year both at grassroots and elite level.
“We need to find and train as many match officials as possible.
“Over the past month I travelled with my team of instructors through the north of the country trying to identify talent.
“In the coming weeks we will travel to the southern and western parts of Fiji with the same aim,” he says.
Varman is confident referees in Fiji have a bright future.
He says it’s one of the main reasons why his two sons followed in his footsteps.

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