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Referee talents and mentors to meet

The programme whereby promising young officials get expert help in their career development from experienced former international referees comes under the spotlight in Nyon.

Referees training at a UEFA course
Referees training at a UEFA course ©Sportsfile

UEFA's ambitious referee development activities include a programme whereby up-and-coming referees and assistants are given guidance in their careers by experienced former international match officials.

The latest UEFA gathering this week will see another group of promising referees and assistant referees take a step forward in what they hope will be distinguished careers.

The tenth Seminar for UEFA Referee and Assistant Referee Talents and Mentors in Nyon from Monday to Wednesday continues a comprehensive and high-quality programme which has already helped nurture a good number of today's top European officials. A total of 13 referees, 11 assistants and eight mentors will take part.

The young referees and assistants – the talents – are fostered by their experienced mentors. The role of the latter is crucial. The mentors remain in constant contact with their referees by email or phone, and by either visiting them or inviting them to the mentors' respective countries. Their discussions focus on on-field performances as well as on matters such as diet, general conduct and improving communication in English, now the common language of refereeing at UEFA level.

UEFA feels that young referees and assistants should be treated in the same way as young footballers – players benefit from the direction of experienced coaches, and budding referees also profit from the wisdom of those that have travelled a similar road before them. The UEFA talents and mentors scheme is therefore designed to ensure that notable refereeing rookies get the best possible help up the ladder.

Former referee talents have become leading match officials – of the ten European referees selected for this summer's FIFA World Cup, seven have come through the programme.

This year's Nyon seminar will feature practical work and discussions. A training session will take place at the Colovray Stadium opposite UEFA's headquarters – now owned by UEFA and the future setting for a centre of refereeing excellence. The agenda also covers a review of recent instructions to UEFA referees, offside and teamwork between referees and assistants, and how talents and mentors should go about building a fruitful partnership.

Referees: Arman Amirkhanyan (Armenia); Stuart Attwell (England); Esther Azzopardi Farrugia (Malta); Alan Black (Northern Ireland); Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain); Georgios Daloukas (Greece); Hüseyin Göcek (Turkey); Tom Harald Hagen (Norway); Ovidiu Alin Hategan (Romania); Jiří Jech (Czech Republic); Artyom Kuchin (Kazakhstan); Milorad Mažić (Serbia); Jérome Efong Nzolo (Belgium); Paolo Tagliavento (Italy).

Assistants: Yevgeniy Belskiy (Kazakhstan); Joël De Bruyn (Belgium); Gareth Eakin (Northern Ireland); Emil Ubias (Czech Republic); Serkan Gençerler (Turkey); Zaven Hovhannisyan (Armenia); Sian Massey (England); Milovan Ristić (Serbia); Octavian Sovre (Romania); Leonidas Vasileiadis (Greece); Svein Inge Wiken (Norway).