Referees ● Jan 28, 2014

FIFA Referees Assistance Programme at Jalan Besar Stadium


By Kenneth Tan

35 Singaporean officials went through a five-day seminar to update themselves on the Laws of the Game.

SINGAPORE, 28 January 2014: It may be the off-season in the S.League, but there was to be no taking eyes off the ball for the football referees in Singapore.

Friday morning saw the opening ceremony of the FIFA Referees Assistance Programme (RAP) at the Football Association of Singapore’s headquarters, Jalan Besar Stadium.

Scheduled from 24-28 January, this five-day seminar will be headed by FIFA Refereeing Instructor Farkhad Abdullaev. The 39-year-old is the Uzbekistan FA’s Director of Referees, and also one of the instructors for the FIFA Futuro III Programme, a programme for training future instructors in coaching, administration and management, refereeing and sports medicine.

Topics featured in the programme include updates on the Laws of the Game (LOTG), as well as the application of the Laws in practical sessions.

A total of 35 Singaporean officials, including our FIFA Referees and Assistant Referees, as well as Senior Referees, are the participants of this Programme.

They include 2013 S.League Referee of the Year Abdul Malik Bashir and Assistant Referee of the Year Edwin Lee, as well as notable S.League referees like Jansen Foo and Sukhbir Singh. Meanwhile, Rohaidah Nasir is the only female participant in the Program.

Speaking from the sidelines of the opening ceremony, Farkhad shared what he hopes to achieve from this Programme.

“First of all, our mission is to have uniformity (in LOTG),” he said.

“As you know, FIFA has recently amended the LOTG in terms of offside and handball. These are key elements in refereeing which we will discuss deeply in these five days. I hope the referees will leave the class with clear ideas how to implement the (new) laws.”

Despite this being his first-ever visit to Singapore, he only had good things to say about this city-state.

“There’s a good role model here in Shamsul (Maidin),” he said while referring to only the second Singaporean referee to officiate in a FIFA World Cup (after George Suppiah, who officiated at the 1974 edition), in Germany in 2006.

“He’s a teacher, a brother and a colleague. We’ve conducted a couple of courses together and I’ve learnt a lot of him.

I can see good potentials in referees here. I’ve met some of them at (international) competitions; they’re quite educated and knowledgeable. I hope they can achieve even higher standards of refereeing and also see them at big competitions.”

With match-fixing becoming a more prevalent issue in professional football these days, Farkhad hopes to educate young and budding referees not to go down that unwise path.

“Our target is referees’ education,” he shared.

“Normally we do not touch this area in FIFA courses, it’s not our job. But of course, we talk to them personally and mention such important issues – especially to younger referees. We educate them in the proper way, give them idea how to behave and how to avoid such problems.”

One thing which he hopes to see Singapore improve on is having the presence of a Referees Committee.

“According to FIFA statute, all member associations should have two bodies – a Referees Committee which make decisions and a Referees Department which implement the decisions,” he revealed.

“These bodies should be in the management of the national federation, but some countries only have the Committee, while some only have the Department.”

Farkhad also took time to share more of about the tough fitness test which all Referees have to go through in order to get accreditation.

“There’re two parts to the fitness test,” he explained.

“The first part is six repetition of 40 meters sprint. The passing mark for Referees is 6.2 seconds, while for Assistant Referees it’s 6.0 seconds. However for FIFA referees, we expect them to go no more than 5.8 seconds.

The second part consists of 10 laps of 150m sprint and 50m walk. The usual requirement is 30 seconds of sprint and 35 seconds of walk, while for FIFA referees it’s 30 seconds of sprint and 30 seconds of walk. There’s people who say it’s only a difference of five seconds, but that’s extremely difficult.”

“Fitness is the passport to go into refereeing, if you do not have fitness, then you cannot be on the field,” he added.

The fitness test for the 35 participants was held at Woodlands Stadium on Friday evening, marking the end of a tough first day of the Programme.

The fitness test resumed on the morning of Saturday, 25 January with the closing ceremony held on the afternoon of Tuesday, 28 January.

FAS extends its gratitude to Mr Farkhad for travelling to Singapore to conduct this Programme!