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AFC Director of Referees Hails FAS' Efforts to Develop Referees

Date: 
Mon, 03 Jul 2017

AFC Director of Referees Hails FAS' Efforts to Develop Referees

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Director of Referees Shamsul Maidin, the first Singaporean to be appointed to the position, met with members of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Referees Department and Referees Committee in Singapore earlier in June to understand the current refereeing situation in Singapore, and present the AFC refereeing projects that Member Associations (MAs) can leverage on.

The two key projects he presented were the MA Refereeing Administration Project and the AFC Referee Academy – the latter of which is slated to open by the end of 2017. His visit to FAS also served as a preliminary visit to assess Singapore’s suitability for the Refereeing Administration Project.

The project spans two years and aims to build up and extend support to Referee Departments in MAs. MAs are invited to apply to participate in the project, and selection of MAs is subject to stringent criteria. There will be three visits by technical experts conducted over the two years – Assessment, Progress and Completion Visits – to ensure that the project is being implemented appropriately.

Upon the conclusion of the sharing session, Shamsul said: “I see the potential in FAS. First of all, the structure is there. I believe that with the right resources, they can really move forward. It is on the finer points that we (AFC) will have to give them the support.”

Shamsul, who in January was appointed as one of two representatives from Asia to the FIFA Referees Committee, also commended the regular contact the Referees Department has with the referees. FAS-certified referees are grouped into Junior, Development and S.League referees and meet with technical instructors monthly in their respective groups for training sessions.

“It is good that the Referees Department is closely monitoring all these activities as it is important for the progress of referees,” he said.

He also suggested that the FAS produce its own teaching resources. The Referees Department currently uses AFC and FIFA teaching resources, but FAS Head of Referees Department K. Visva Nathan agreed it is a good idea to look into producing localised teaching materials as it would increase the sense of connection the referees feel when they note that they are learning from local referees and matches.

Shamsul also touched on the Department’s efforts to develop referees, singling out FIFA referees Abirami d/o Apbai Naidu and Muhammad Taqi bin Jahari as examples of the Department’s good work over the years. Both have refereed at FIFA international tournaments in recent years – Abirami at the 2015 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup, 2015 FIFA Women’s Under-17 World Cup as well as 2015 Women’s World Cup 2012; and Taqi at the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup as a Video Assistant Referee and several 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier matches. 

In particular, he pointed out that Taqi has been shortlisted for the 2018 FIFA World Cup at a young age.

“Taqi is a very talented referee, part of the modern, young generation referees. Him being shortlisted at only 31 years old is already an honour and a great achievement for himself and for Singapore. He really earned it based on merit. I think he is a role model not only to Singapore referees but also to other referees in Asia with his on- and off-field discipline. We are very proud to see that he has that level of maturity in refereeing despite his youth.”

Shamsul also lauded the move to bring Taqi into the FAS setup, a move that was intended to ensure he is able to take up more international assignments to aid in his preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He pointed out that Taqi can now focus on refereeing, and is more available for key matches at the top level – and that it is in no small part thanks to the support that the FAS has given him.

While he was suitably pleased with what he was presented, Shamsul felt that there is still room for further growth for the FAS, with the AFC’s support. Visva echoed Shamsul’s sentiments, saying: “We had a fruitful sharing session, and I am very keen to embark on the Project to seek their input on where we can improve. It is good to hear that our Department is on the right track, we will continue to engage with AFC to bring the standards of refereeing in Singapore to a higher level.”

Shamsul concluded on an optimistic note: “I will bring my preliminary findings back to AFC and recommend Singapore for the project. It is a very intense project and we will have to take it seriously to progress to greater heights.”

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