The FIFA FUTURO III Referee Instructor Course concluded on Friday but not without some positive words from Deputy Head of Referee Department Manual Navarro who made the long trip from Zurich to witness first-hand the ongoing development in Oceania.
“To be honest with you, we see a lot of improvement in OFC,” Navarro stated.
“I’ve been with FIFA for six years and what I’ve seen in these years is amazing.
“OFC, at the beginning they were quite at the bottom, but now with the referees we have at OFC and FIFA competitions the referees have developed really well, very fast and they have a good quality.”
He has seen marked improvement in referee development translating into elite match officials and Navarro said a lot of that comes down to the FUTURO course.
“It’s the course where we teach the main instructors of each Member Association of OFC. It is part of the whole refereeing development programme we have within FIFA.
“We meet with the FIFA Instructors once a year in February, we guide them with the new teaching materials, the philosophy of FIFA refereeing and then they go back to their Confederations and teach like here in Auckland.
“The leading instructors of each Member Association is present so we can pass through the message of FIFA refereeing from the bottom up.”
The course, which took place over four and-a-half days in Auckland, New Zealand, was divided into three parts – technical futsal and fitness.
“We break it up because they each have their own teaching points for the modern referee,” Navarro explained.
“Of course, the modern referee at the end is one person, but we have to split it because there is so many things on the technical side, but also on the physical side which have to be taught apart.
“Then futsal, well futsal is growing very fast and we recognise that we have to do something in futsal and that is why one of the pillars focuses only on futsal.
“OFC is one confederation where we do it like this because we have a lot of futsal, and it has been worth it.”
Having spent several days observing the participants and taking part in some of the sessions, Navarro felt the future of refereeing in the region is in good hands.
“The course has gone very well. The participants are motivated and I’m very happy with the results so far,” he said.
“I have mainly been looking at the technical side, watching what they are doing and what the FIFA Instructors are doing. These are very experienced FIFA instructors and there have been a lot of very good discussions and they are motivated to learn.”
The course mixes FIFA Instructors from Europe and Asia with FIFA Instructors from Oceania and Navarro said that’s proven to be a successful approach.
“I think the interaction within the FIFA Instructors worldwide – so that means from Asia comes to Oceania and Oceania goes to Africa – is very important because then people see we have one philosophy, one guideline, one teaching material.
“This is very important that refereeing worldwide has to be the same and the same philosophy applied.”