Malta Football Association
Diary of Events - Aug 2016
Sep 13, 2016
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Referees Events




  • 04 to 06 August 2016  A total of 150 officials involved in the refereeing sector – referees and assistant referees from all categories, referee observers, administrators and technical staff – attended their pre-season 2016/2017 seminar organised by the Malta FA Refereeing Department.  Newly-appointed Director of Refereeing Kevin Azzopardi, said that this is a new era for the Refereeing Department with a new refereeing structure; made reference to UEFA’s 95% ‘very good’ refereeing audit just completed, and the challenges ahead which should motivate all of us to move forward with this year’s chosen theme TOGETHER STRONGER.  The official opening was made by the Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovatioin, Youth and Sport, Hon. Chris Agius, in the presence of Hon. David Agius, Opposition Spokesman for Sport.  The main guests were UEFA Referees Committee member David R. Elleray responsible for Maltese refereeing, who focused on The New Amendments to the Laws of the Game with special reference to Denying an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity, and the Key Messages from UEFA Referees’ Committee given to the EURO 2016 Final Tournament participating teams; went into the referee observers’ role; appealed to referees to stick together, deal with conflicts internally, and work hard to keep on learning; while UEFA Referee Observer Frank De Bleeckere addressed Careless, Reckless and Stopping Promising Attacks by means of dvd clip situations and a presentation focusing on the importance of positioning and angles taken while following the action, teamwork, focus and concentration; also led a practical session for the Elite Group to explain the Vanishing Spray System.Other topics were addressed by national instructors Charles Agius on Adopting a preventive approach in Man-Management to National Officials, and by Gaetano  De Gabriele on The first steps in today’s modern refereeing to Grassroots Officials.  Group Discussionswere led by the Director of Refereeing Kevin Azzopardi, his Assistant Directors Philip Agius and Andrè Arciola, and Refereeing Officers Adrian Azzopardi, Stephen Mallia and Alex Arena.  A session on Match Fixing was delivered by MFA Integrity Officer Franz Tabone; while a Player Talk and aCoach Talk were conducted by national goalkeeper Andrew Hogg and U-21 national coach Silvio Vella.  A Press Conferencewas given by MFA General Secretary Bjorn Vassallo, attended by MFA Vice-President and Referees’ Committee Chairman Alex Manfrè.  A Media Talk took place during which TVM’s Kontrattakk presenter Sandro Micallef and Net TV’s Replay opinionist Konrad Sultana exchanged refereeing views with the audience.All participants were tested in General Knowledge, Laws of the Game, and English Proficiency, by means of quizzes.MFA Referees Fitness CoachRonald Zammit carried out body composition tests on the elite group of match officials, and made an analysis of the results; made reference to the FIFA Fitness Tests held earlier in the week and gave appropriate advice on the officials’ performances; and conducted a theoretical and practical session on Injury Prevention.


  • 10 to 12 August 2016  FIFA referee Clayton Pisani – as a UEFA First Category referee – joined other top international European referees for the important 2016/2017 Pre-season Preparation Course for UEFA Top Referees held in Geneva and Nyon (UEFA HQ), Switzerland.  During this summer course, the match officials were given detailed advice on various refereeing topics aimed at achieving uniformity in their decision-making in accordance with the Laws of the Game recent changes.  The main objectives of the course were to learn from the experience of the previous season’s competitions (UEFA EURO 2016, Champions League, Europa Leagueand other Europeanmatches), to emphasise the key points for the new season, and to check the fitness level of the participants during the rigorous UEFA fitness test. Further important topics covered to enhance the referees’ performance were match tactical preparation and Goal Line Technology.


·         11 August 2016  Former referee Joseph Spiteri passed away, aged 52.


·         12 to 14 August 2016  After his participation in the 19th edition of the Premier European competition EURO Beach Soccer League (EBSL) 2016for men's national teams in Moscow last month, international beach soccer referee Jude Amin Utuluofficiated more matches during the next phase of this tournament played in the city of Siofok in Hungary.  Romania, Portugal, Russia and Belarus in Division A Group 1; Ukraine, Italy, Germany and Poland in Division A Group 2; and hosts Hungary, Azerbaijan, Denmark and Bulgaria in Division B Group 1 – all challenged to salvage points before the finals later in the same month.


·         14 August 2016  Former referee and referee observer Walter Anthony Gatt passed away, aged 100.


  • 16 August 2016 International referee Esther Azzopardi was interviewed on the Public Broadcasting Services TVM Sports programme.


  • 17 to 20 August 2016 International referee ClintonCassar officiated in the UEFA Futsal Cup 2016-2017 Group E Preliminary Round mini-tournament organised by the Austrian Football Association. SC Kaiserebersdorf (Austria), IFK Göteborg (Sweden), Amsterdam SV (Netherlands) and FC Cosmos (Estonia), contested this mini-tournamentplayed in Vienna’s Sporthalle Brigittenau.  Clinton Cassar was involved in the following matches: on the 17thas Referee 2 during SC Kaiserebersdorf vs IFK Göteborg; on the 18thas Referee 3 during IFK Göteborgvs Amsterdam SV, and as Referee 1 during SC Kaiserebersdorfvs FC Cosmos; and on the 20thas Referee 2 during FC Cosmos vsIFK Göteborg, and as Referee 3 during Amsterdam SV vs SC Kaiserebersdorf).  The other appointed referees with Clinton Cassar wereDamian Jaruchiewicz (Poland), Kaloyan Kirilov (Bulgaria) and Damir Radovic (Serbia); Mile Lukic (Austria) was timekeeper.  Kleomenis Bontiotis (Greece) was the appointed UEFA Referee Observer, while Mateo Beusan (Croatia) was assigned the duties of UEFA Delegate.


  •  23 August 2016  The Malta FA Refereeing Centre organised a session related to the recent amendments to the Laws of the Game, open to all local TV sports journalists, during which the main changes were reviewed by means of short dvd clips; it also included some very interesting questions and remarks put forward by those present both in relation to the Laws of the Game as well as to other issues related to refereeing.  Director of Refereeing Kevin Azzopardi, who led the session together with Assistant Director Andrè Arciola, stated that the Refereeing Centre acknowledged the Media as an important stakeholder in the world of football and thanked those present for their sterling work.  It was agreed that such occasions definitely continue to serve in strengthening the good relationship between both sides.


  • 23 to 28 August 2016  International referee Esther Azzopardi officiated in the UEFA Women’s Champions LeagueFirst Qualifying Round Group 6mini-tournament played in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The teams taking part with hosts WFC SFK 2000 Sarajevo were Hapoel Nir Ramat Hasharon (Israel), Rigas Futbola skola (Latvia) and WFC Kharkiv (Ukraine).Ms Azzopardi was involvedin thefollowingmatches: on the 23rd as referee during WFC SFK 2000 Sarajevo vs Hapoel Nir Ramat Hasharon at Otoka Stadium; on the 25th as 4th officialduring WFC SFK 2000 Sarajevo vs Rigas Futbola skola at Otoka Stadium; and on the 28th as referee during WFC Kharkiv vs WFC SFK 2000 Sarajevo at Olimpijski Stadion Asim Ferhaatovic Hase.  The other referees with Esther Azzopardi were Marta Huerta de Aza (Spain)and Zuzana Valentova (Slovakia); while the other assistant referees were BiljanaAtanasovski (FYR of Macedonia), Guadalupe Porras Ayuso (Spain), and Miroslava Obertova (Slovakia).  UEFA officials Claudine Brohet (Belgium) and KatarzynaWierzbowska (Poland) were Referee Observers.


  • 24 August 2016  First Referees’ Committee Meeting for season 2016/7 chaired by Alex Manfrè, Malta FA Vice-President.


  • 25 August 2016 As part of its recent series of sessions related to the latest amendments to the Laws of the Game, the Malta FA Refereeing Centre organised one for all member clubs of the Gozo Football Association. The well-attended session also included the participation of Gozitan match officials and referee observers.  Participants at the meeting held at the GFA Headquarters at the Gozo Stadium, were addressed by Director of Refereeing Kevin Azzopardi who went through all main changes out of a total of 95 carried out to the 17 laws of the game by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) as from this season.  The meeting was also addressed by Paul Caruana, Head Recruitment & Retention Unit,who together with James Farrugia urged clubs to help the Refereeing Centre identify potential Gozitan candidatesto take up a career in refereeing.  This meeting was coordinated by the Gozo FA in conjunction with the Refereeing Centre Gozo Unit led by Anthony Zammit and Joseph Camilleri.


  • 25 August 2016  The recently-established Grassroots Unit within the new structure at the Refereeing Centre –with the aim to mentor, support and prepare young match officials in their first months and years of their refereeing career –  organised the first specialised session for Grassroots match officials at the Centenary Stadium, which focused on running technique and practical exercises on concentration. This well-attended session highlighted the importance of maximum concentration during the match in order to better the decisions taken on the field of play.  The session was coordinated by Andrè Arciola, Head Grassroots Unit, Adrian Azzopardi, Head National Unit and Ronald Zammit, Referees’ Fitness Coach. 


  • 25 to 28 August 2016  After his successful participation in mini-tournaments of the 19th edition of the Premier European competition EURO Beach Soccer League (EBSL) 2016 for men's national teams in Moscow last month and earlier this month in Hungary, international beach soccer referee Jude Amin Utuluofficiated during the Promotion Final and the Superfinal of this final phase played in the Sicilian city of Catania, Italy.   The four groups of contestants were:Division A Group 1 – Belarus, Germany, Ukraine, Spain; Division A Group 2 – Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Italy; Division B Group 1 – Moldova, Hungary, Estonia, Romania; and Division B Group 2 – Czech Republic, Turkey, England, Azerbaijan.


  • 29 August 2016   A SeminarNew Referee Observers coordinated by Alexander Arena, Head of the Observers’ and Instructors’ Unit,was organised at the Refereeing Centre, during which he explained technical and administrative procedures, the role of a referee observer and also gave an overview of what a referee expects from him/her.  Experienced referee observers were also present to narrate their own experiences to their new colleagues.The seven new entrants are former FIFA Referees Adrian Azzopardi and Marco Borg, former Premier League referees Andrè Arciola, Roberto Buontempo and Reno Refalo, as well as Emanuel Calleja and Tanya Baldacchino (the first official female referee observer in Malta).


  • 30 August 2016  The Assistants’ Unit within the Malta FA Refereeing Centre organised a session with a difference for Assistant Referees as they headed to Paradise Bay for this challenge in this beautiful landscape and surroundings. The session started off with a rural run followed by a canoeing session.  Later on the group enjoyed dinner together.  Such innovative events, apart from continuing to enhance the officials' physical shape, definitely serve to provide greater motivation to all participants and as a team building exercise.  The session was coordinated by Philip Agius, Head Assistants' Unit, assisted by Charles Micallef and Mariano Debono.
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