Free FKF Courses Have Made Us More Efficient At Work, Say Referees

Free FKF Courses Have Made Us More Efficient At Work, Say Referees 1

Just like a judge in a court session, a football match is incomplete without a referee.

The primary role of the referee is to enforce the 17 basic “Laws of the Game” as set out by FIFA. Knowing and understanding these laws is a requirement one must have before being allowed to officiate a match.

For example, before the match, a referee must take time to ensure that all player equipment and match equipment are up-to the required standards; should act as a timekeeper during the entire match; have the discretion to postpone or abandon a match if necessary.

They should also be in a position to judge if and when players may receive medical treatment they require, and ensure that seriously injured players are removed from the pitch before play resumes.

A referee should know what appropriate disciplinary action to mete out to players who commit fouls in the field and be able take firm and reasonable action against any team official who exhibits questionable conduct during a match. The referee’s decision is final and should not be challenged by players or team officials.

After the match is over, the referee is obliged to furnish the appropriate authorities with a written report which should capture any relevant information about the match, including details of any disciplinary actions taken during the match and details of any incidents that occurred before, during or after the game.

Given such an important role they play in the management of football on the pitch, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has taken referees training seriously and given them the keen attention they deserve by initiating free training programs.

For the first time in the history of Kenyan football, the federation went ahead and initiated referees’ trainings as well as quarterly Physical Endurance Tests (PETs) across the country in a move that was aimed at not only keeping the referees abreast with the laws of the game but also continuously ascertaining their physical preparedness to handle league matches.

This was after the federation had expressed concern about the declining standards of officiating and the number of referees in the country.

While launching an extensive training and fitness test at Gusii Stadium for 240 Kenya Premier League, National Super League and National Division One referees ahead of the 2019/2020 season, FKF National Executive Committee member Joseph Andere and referees’ manager Sylvester Kirwa said that the federation has put in place adequate measures to reverse the situation.

“Questions were raised about officiating in the KPL and NSL. We formed an ad hoc committee and the situation was temporarily sorted with some referees and their assistants being suspended,” said Andere, who heads FKF’s referees’ committee.

FKF referees manager Sylvester Kirwa reiterated the need to train more referees:

“As we run the leagues we also need the referees, and so the federation has taken this very necessary initiative through the department of the referees to make sure that we bring on board referees.”

In February this year, the federation held a three-day referees and match commissioners course that saw 360 participants from the Kenya Premier League, Betika Super League, Division one league, Women Premier League and the Women Division One League taken through changes of the laws of the game as well as fitness tests.

The course was held at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega, under the tutelage of Sylvester Kirwa, Maculate Akorot, Peter Kiereini, Steven Oduor and Margaret Omondi.

Kirwa explained the importance of such training to the participants.

“The course is essential to the participants in that they will gain knowledge on the laws of the game, management skills for the referees, match reporting for the match commissioners and match analysis. Their fitness and health will also be tested during the course,” he said.

Fitness Instructor, Margaret Omondi, gave her take on why it is important for the participants to be fit.

“It is a standard requirement by FIFA for the referees to be fit since its going to be of key importance as they officiate different matches in our leagues.

In October 2019, FKF president Nick Mwendwa presided over the closing ceremony of a five-day FIFA Member Association (MA) referees course in Machakos.

The training saw 35 match officials from the FIFA Panel as well as the Kenyan Premier League taken through amendments to the laws of the game as well as fitness tests.

“We have a policy of ongoing training for referees to ensure that standards not only continue to improve but the Laws of the Game also apply in the same way across the board,” said FKF President Nick Mwendwa.

“As a Federation, we are committed to improving officiating standards and creating capacity with the sole aim of comprehensively developing the game at a minimal cost to the beneficiaries,” added Mwendwa.

The course was conducted by FIFA Instructors Ali Ahmed (Technical) and Houssein Ali (Fitness), with FIFA Referees Development Officer Jerome K Damon also in attendance.

In 2018, Football Kenya Federation Eastern Zone rolled out a Physical Endurance Tests (PET) exercise for referees prior to the start of Division Two and lower tier leagues.

The referees were taken through theory sessions in class, as well as group discussions and fieldwork with the topics of discussion including referees positioning, the handball rule, tactical fouls, penalty area incidents, the offside rule, and match reporting, among others.

A source at the the federation said that FIFA and CAF would undertake the PET’s quarterly so as to regularly take referees through modifications to the laws of the game.

“We are aiming at integrating technique and practice during this PET so as to produce referees who are not only physically fit but are also up to speed with the laws of the game,” he added.

Meanwhile, FKF Deputy President Doris Petra has reiterated the Federation’s commitment towards the improvement of the levels of officiating in the country.

“As a federation, we remain committed to progressively improving the level of officiating in the country as it forms an integral part of the game,” she said.

Some of the beneficiaries of the FKF referees training programs have lauded the federation’s efforts.

“It’s my joy being referee. I love doing the job,” said Daivin Omondi.

“I’m happy to have received received certification. Many a times we missed out on opportunities because we lacked this type of qualification,” said Maureen Juma.

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