This content is streamed in such a way that it is protected and available only in a Flash format. Your device seems not to be compatible with our Flash video player.
Promising potential European international referees of tomorrow are being given essential early experience and training as part of UEFA's Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE) programme – and the programme is now being expanded to include women referees.
The CORE programme, which is managed at the Colovray Sports Centre opposite UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, began in 2010 and has already proved its worth, with over 100 referees and assistants joining the FIFA international list after being given earlier guidance thanks to CORE.
UEFA are integrating female referees into the Centre of Refereeing Excellence in Nyon at an opportune moment for the women's game. In May, Chelsea FC's Stamford Bridge home will stage the UEFA Women's Champions League final, and July brings UEFA Women's EURO 2013 in Sweden. The elite of European women referees are gearing up for these major assignments while the next potential generation are looking to follow in their footsteps.
The objective is always to raise refereeing standards within Europe's national associations, with a focus on the future. "The huge success of the CORE programme for men refereeing is clear," said David Elleray, former international referee from England and CORE course leader. "And it's right and proper that we now extend that into women refereeing, so in 2013, we will have courses for FIFA assistants and referees, to help them develop; to also help us at UEFA identify talent that we can promote, and develop for the future. So it will replicate very much the philosophy of the men's CORE programme."
This year's UEFA winter course in Rome demonstrated the attention being given by UEFA to furthering standards in women's refereeing. Top women's referees were invited for the first time to join their male colleagues at the course, and fed off each other's ideas and experiences. CORE has successfully used elite referees Howard Webb, Nicola Rizzoli, Stéphane Lannoy and Pedro Proença to give their inspiration to developing referee teams, and the experienced women's referees see the benefit of CORE for the next generation.
"It's an enormous step," says Bibiana Steinhaus, the German who took charge of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup final and 2012 Olympics gold medal match. "Women's football in Europe is improving a lot. And also the referee's side is improving.
"It's a big chance and a great opportunity for young women to step into the focus of UEFA, to learn a lot, to be part of the professionalism which is coming more and more, and improve their refereeing," she added. "I hope the ladies who will go there know that."
Dagmar Damková, from the Czech Republic, is a member of the UEFA Referees' Committee and a former international women's referee who took charge of the 2011 UEFA Women's Champions League final between Olympique Lyonnais and 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam in London. She is now putting her experience back into refereeing at home and throughout Europe, and she is delighted with the move.
"I think this is significant, because this is something that has never been here before, something that will definitely, definitely help," she reflected. "We know from the men's experience, from the CORE programme for men, it's been brilliant. So we just hope that it'll be the same for women, and that they will take as much as possible from it."
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.