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Jan 16, 2014

FIFA instructors in the jewel to train local referees

With the World Cup to be played in June and July this year in Brazil, football fever is expected to be pitch-high. Billions are expected to view the games on television and Brazil is preparing to accommodate as many as hundreds of thousands of football aficionados. This week, FIFA instructors have been in Belize offering training to improve the standards of refereeing. It is a rigorous program of international standards and only a few will qualify to referee international matches. Duane Moody was up early on Wednesday morning to view the training at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex.


Duane Moody, Reporting

For approximately a week, referees and assistant referees of football from across the country have been part of a seminar hosted by the Football Federation of Belize. The group has been learning about the rules and regulations of refereeing the sport and the techniques and skills to judge soccer games effectively. The training is done three times a year and is administered by three FIFA instructors.


Marlon Kuylen

Marlon Kuylen, Executive Member, F.F.B.

“Once a year, we have what they call the referee assistance program where FIFA sends three international instructors to come and do a five day course. And this is to prepare our referees and assistant referees to qualify to do international matches. The purpose is also to take them to another level; to always be improving themselves especially when it comes to the physical part of it.”


But the training is two-fold. It also tests the fitness of referees and their subordinates on stamina and the ability to withstand the athletic demands of football games.  At six-thirty Wednesday morning, the skills of some twenty-four Belizeans, including one female, were put to the test at the running track at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex on Princess Margaret Drive in Belize City.


David Jones

David Jones, Director of Refereeing Department, F.F.B.

“The first component comprises of sprints; six sprints each referee has to do. They go through the gates so there is not a human factor. They have six sprints to do and between each sprint they have a rest time of one and half minute. After completing those six sprints, then they rest for eight minutes then they do the intervals where they have to do twenty-four, a hundred and fifty meter sprints with a rest time of…they walk for fifty seconds.”


Ronald Gutierrez, Official Referee Development Officer, FIFA (Translated)

Ronald Gutierrez

“The running is one of the most important parts so that we can know the physical condition of the referees. One of the things that we need to know is the quality of the league. If they do not give the support, then the quality of the referees will not be the same.”


But of the twenty-four, only four referees and three assistant referees passed the tests. These tests are useful for the referees, who can also be called athletes, as they too must train and prepare themselves mentally and physically to one; complete the mandatory tests and training to be a referee. And two, a similar test conducted in October of every year, would dub successful referees as international FIFA accredited referees and assistant referees.


Marlon Kuylen

“The experience of going and doing international matches is a great one—apart from the financial compensation that comes along with it. They need to self-motivate and we’ll try our very best to give them the tools and the opportunities. It is up to them now to go and do what they need to do.”


Presently, Belize has two sanctioned referees and one assistant referee; all three can mediate international matches. And in Wednesday’s test, Christopher Reid from Corozal demonstrated exactly why he had captured that honor. Reid has judged both the 2013 CODICADER games in Salvador and the UNCAF U-sixteen games held in Belmopan. Reid spoke of the challenges of being a referee.


Christopher Reid

Christopher Reid, Referee

“It is difficult because you can’t be stressed out. Me personally, I have to work, find time for training, I have to travel all the way to Corozal on the bus. I have to juggle work, training, home and all of that. It is a strain mentally and physically it is the same. It is not something for yourself, but something for football players, for your fans and the federation to look after referees. Being an international referee is something…I am happy to be an international referee.”


A FIFA test was held last October to determine the FIFA referees and assistants for 2014. Duane Moody for News Five.


The list for the 2014 FIFA referees for the World Cup has just been released. 

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