Match officials are as important to a football tournament as the players and the coaching staff are so keeping them up-to-date with the latest developments is important.
In Papua New Guinea a four-day FIFA/MA Referee Course brought 25 referees together in an effort to keep them current with what is happening in world football refereeing, facilitated by OFC Referee Development Officer Kevin Stoltenkamp and Fitness Instructor Greg Gallop.
The participants hailed from a range of PNGFA Member Associations, including Morobe Football Association, Port Moresby Soccer Association, Madang Soccer Association, Popondetta, Wau and Wabag.
Stoltenkamp said the objective of the course was to improve each referee’s knowledge of the Laws of the Game, their skills in player management, fitness and mental discipline.
“Refereeing evolves, and to remain a referee you need to know football and understand the game,” Stoltenkamp said.
Participants spent the four days attending practical and theoretical sessions as well as undergoing standard fitness training sessions.
“The course is particularly important due to the introduction of a number of new Laws of the Game this year,” Stoltenkamp continued.
“The constant evolution of football and the role of the referee in that is why constant courses and efforts to improve themselves are so important.”
Stoltenkamp added that it was encouraging to see the willingness of the referees to continue their learning.
PNGFA senior vice-president John Wesley Gonjuan said hosting the course every year is vital to ensuring PNG continues to produce match officials who can go on to be involved in tournaments across Oceania.
“We know match officials play a very important role in any tournament or match, and these local officials are here for the purpose of upgrading their skills and knowledge to achieve better performances on the field,” Gonjuan says.
“We have this course every year so that referees can continue to improve, so I hope they have made the best of the time here and leave feeling like they have achieved something.”