While developing strong coaches is part of the development strategy for futsal, having the referees develop at the same pace as the game will be the key to success in Oceania.
The FIFA FUTURO III Referee Instructor Course which was held in Auckland, New Zealand earlier this month focused on three main areas – technical, fitness and futsal – and it was the latter which brought Belgium-native Perry Gautier back to the region.
The FIFA Futsal Instructor said the goals of the course are very clear.
“The goal of this kind of event or seminar is to prepare instructors so they can spread the word, so they can start with development – that is the goal of this seminar,” Gaultier stated.
“It’s very important that referees understand the Laws of the Game, that they are prepared because as you said, futsal is really growing and we try to grow the teams, the officials and also the referees together because if this is out of balance then we have problems.”
Gaultier has enjoyed the return to basics which the region provides and said the motivation of the individuals on the course helps make it enjoyable.
“We have different cultures, different ways of explaining how to do things. This is a very good experience for me,” he explained.
“Also, because we have many people who start on the basic level and for us, for UEFA and Europe, we have been working in futsal for many years but it’s always nice to come back to basics.”
Christian Koaneti of Tonga is one of the participants of the futsal instructor stream and said the course has been a real eye-opener as someone from a country where futsal is still a budding discipline.
“Futsal has been around for about three years in Tonga now and I think it’s a good stepping stone for football in general so this is a good opportunity for the Kingdom, and one I feel very fortunate to be part of,” he said.
“In terms of development of the game, it will not improve with poor refereeing which is why FUTURO is important for the region.
“It’s already helped me a lot and I think it will continue to assist us to upgrade our skills with help from experts like Perry.”
For Koaneti, although the review of the Laws of the Game with the experts has been an important part of the course, he too believes being able to engage in FIFA’s philosophy for refereeing is ultimately the most significant take-away.
“I’ve come to realise it’s not just the laws but the spirit. Respecting the game and the integrity of the game.
“To apply the Laws of the Game well, you must respect the integrity of the game.”