FAS ● Jan 11, 2024
FAS Referees come together for the fourth annual Referees Connect
The FAS Referees Connect, 6 January 2024.
SINGAPORE, 11 JANUARY 2024 – The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Referees Department brought the refereeing community together for the fourth edition of the Referees Connect over two days on 6 and 7 January 2024 at the Blackbox SportSG Auditorium.
The annual Referees Connect event, which started in 2019, represents an indispensable part of the refereeing calendar and serves as a platform to bring together the FAS Referees’ Committee, FAS Referees’ Department and all FAS referees to foster camaraderie, discuss key topics, as well as provide crucial updates to the refereeing community for the upcoming season.
The FAS Referees Connect, 6 January 2024.
In his welcome speech, Guest of Honor, FAS President, Bernard Tan, emphasized on the FAS’s dedication to supporting referees and recognizing their pivotal role in the football ecosystem. He underlined the FAS’s commitment to the referees by announcing an increment in allowances for match officials handling amateur matches for the upcoming season. This decision follows the 2023 increase in allowances for Singapore Premier League (SPL) referees.
Citing the addition of the recently launched Singapore Youth League (SYL) into the footballing calendar, he also spoke of the increase in the number of matches to be played in Singapore – across all age groups and genders. This places an importance on the need to focus on recruitment and retention. One viable consideration would involve enticing more young players to simultaneously train as referees while pursuing their footballing dreams.
Abirami being presented with her FIFA 2024 refereeing badge, 6 January 2024
One such individual who heeded the call to pick up the whistle during her playing days was Abirami Naidu. The ex- Lioness, who has been accredited by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) for the last fifteen years since 2009, received her 2024 FIFA badge at the Referees Connect event in her twentieth year of being a match official. During her initial years as a referee, Abirami faced numerous challenges in getting her due respect from her peers.
“People used to doubt your judgement as a female referee as the game was more male-oriented. It has since improved with the development of the women’s game” said Abirami who is looking at the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) track in the hopes of becoming Singapore’s first female VAR official.
Training Awards Recipients, 6 January 2024
Besides the FIFA 2024 badges, the event also saw the presentation of training awards to four deserving individuals who have showcased outstanding performance and dedication to their development as referees.
Khairul Amri, a Class 1 referee, won the Performance Excellence Award after excelling in various aspects of match officiating such as fitness and knowledge of the laws of the game. Besides regularly attending the yearly referee’s courses, Khairul, who has been a referee since 2008, keeps himself updated of the changes in the game by reading up on the rules during his spare time, and said: “I feel honored to receive this award and this is testament to my commitment in maintaining the high standard expected of us as match officials in Singapore football.”
FAS Referee Coaches, 6 January 2024
Sukhbir Singh, manager with the FAS Referees Department and former FIFA referee, is looking to foster greater unity within the local refereeing fraternity. “The Referees Connect provides a great platform for the Referees’ Department to share and update all the referees across the various categories on the work plans and initiatives planned for the year ahead,” said Sukhbir. “With the information shared over these two days, I hope all the referees are aware of the developments within the referee’s fraternity and can work towards equipping themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills to achieve their goals together.”
Echoing President Tan’s call for the recruitment of more people to join the refereeing fold, Sukhbir is hopeful that having a structured education system will make being a match official be a viable option for the younger generation to achieve their footballing goals in reaching the higher stages.
CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT
FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE