UEFA referee observers make a crucial contribution to improving refereeing standards, as they are the people who watch the performances of match officials on the European stage. The 25th UEFA Workshop for Referee Observers in Nyon gave a group of referee observers invaluable advice and training on the key aspects of their role.
The observers are experienced former European referees. They attend UEFA matches at all levels to watch the match referees, mark their performance and act as crucial advisors to them after the game in discussing incidents and decisions taken. In turn, UEFA has been giving training to its observers through its workshops.
The objectives of the latest workshop were to enhance uniform interpretation and analysis in the observation of referees at European matches, to train and practice observation, to build a network to share ideas, and for UEFA to become better acquainted with the observers.
UEFA Referees Committee members and technical advisers were on hand at the Nyon gathering to assist and guide the observers.
Following the game, the observer meets with the match officials to discuss positive aspects and areas where improvements have to be made, with potential solutions open to general proposals.
Jaap Uilenberg, a member of the Referees Committee, said the referee observer's role was not to be a fault-finder, but more to be a coach and advisor for referees. UEFA technical adviser Ken Ridden also gave participants information on the instructions given by UEFA to referees this season, and their implication for referee observers.
The observers are asked to analyse proactive or preventive decisions which influence the progress of the match, assess decisions that respond to the match demands, and evaluate how the referees react to the consequences of difficult situations or decisions.
In assessing a referee's performance, particular attention should be paid to important decisions such as fouls or simulation in and close to the penalty area, denial of goalscoring opportunities, acts of violence, mass confrontation between players, protests against referees, second yellow cards, and decisive offside rulings (with the assistant referees taking a key role here).
The observers attended a UEFA Europa League match, and then went into practical mode, by compiling their own assessment of the game. Separate groups discussed the referee's performance to reach agreement, and each group then played roles in post-match analysis, with committee members playing the referee team.
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