AUCKLAND – The FIFA Futuro III Referee Instructors course began yesterday in Auckland with 21 participants from eight OFC Member Associations (MA’s) in attendance.

The aim of the course that runs from November 27 – December 3, is to provide instructors with the necessary tools and training to enable them to impart similar courses to referees/assistant referees at local level under the auspices of their national association.

The course was run by FIFA Instructors Massimo Raveino (TAH), Neil Poloso (SOL) and Shamsul Maidin from Singapore.

It was the first FIFA Futuro course organised in Oceania where an instructor came from outside of the confederation, and Maidin’s experience of four FIFA Futuro Courses in the Asian Football Confederation was a welcome addition to the group.

Participants from New Zealand, Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, American Samoa, New Caledonia, Tahiti and Papua New Guinea took part in the course which was split into technical classroom style technical courses in the morning and practical field based sessions in the afternoon.

Raveino said that the vision for the course was to change the mindset of participants.

“Today our vision regarding referee development in the MA’s is to change the refereeing philosophy, and to change the mindset in the islands,” he said.

“FIFA want results in OFC over the next four years and we need to provide them.

The criteria for selecting referee instructors are numerous and varied.

“The first criteria for involvement is that they must have the ability to work in the MA to teach, instruct organize, coach, monitor and assess,” Raveino said.

“Second they must agree to a targets contract and a moral contract which means they must want to assist the MA and work with the co-operation of the referee development officer in the national associations.

Raveino said the success of this week will be based on how the courses get run in the member associations.

“During this week the participants will organise the technical and practical sessions because they are not here to learn how to instruct, teach and coach, they are here to improve their abilities and that is a key difference. We told the MA’s we need instructors, we don’t need referee’s coming here to learn to be instructors.”

During the course the participants will be taught the FIFA Philosophy regarding the laws of the game, uniformity in understanding how to improve performances of the match officials, methodology, how to organise a course and the management of the calendar program.

Raveino said the instructors have to be flexible because situations in some of the member associations are likely to be unique.

“We have to be flexible and adapt to each situation. For example if you are in American Samoa, it will not be the same as if you are in PNG. In PNG you have no laptop or projector and so the only material at your disposal may be the blackboard and they need to be able to adapt to this change.”

Raveino said it is important to change the mindset in Oceania, and said there would be no one coming over for a holiday.

“We don’t want travellers on our course, or people not here for the right reasons. The lesson that we have learned from the islands is that some participants want to come to Auckland to find their families and visit the city. It is time to change.

“In Fiji in 2004 we ran a course and had 38 candidates. Today we only have 12 instructors who continue to work in their MA. So we don’t want to find this situation again.”

“Next year we will travel to each MA to organize the course with the referee instructors and also to follow up with these candidates.”

Photos: Shane Wenzlick

FIFA Instructor Shamsul Maiden from Singapore

FIFA Instructor Massimo Raveino gives a techincal lecture

Pics above: FIFA Futuro III course participants take in the techincal sessions