UEFA's commitment to raising refereeing standards takes the shape, over two weeks this month, of an inaugural course at the new UEFA Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE) in Nyon, Switzerland.
The first introductory course for promising young referees and assistant referees began on Monday 31 August at CORE's headquarters, the Colovray sports centre opposite UEFA's House of European Football.
The creation of a Centre of Refereeing Excellence was approved by the UEFA Executive Committee in January, and, as a key initiative of this new UEFA programme, CORE will run a two-part course – introductory and consolidation – with a UEFA CORE diploma awarded at its conclusion.
Yvan Cornu, CORE's recently appointed manager, is overseeing the referee education scheme together with course leaders Jaap Uilenberg and David Elleray from the UEFA Referees Committee.
The introductory course lasts for two weeks as experienced referee instructors and specialists advise the young match officials – aged between 25 and 30, and considered as showing FIFA badge potential – about match preparation, player management, control of the game, tactical awareness and fitness training. The one-week consolidation course that follows will take place around seven months later.
Practical exercises, mental preparation and the opportunity to officiate at two Swiss or French championship fixtures complete the busy introductory course agenda, which will conclude with each participant setting personal objectives. The referees taking part will already be handling games at national level.
If technique, match control, fitness and English – refereeing's common language, in which course delegates must already be proficient – are target areas for the introductory fortnight, the main aims of the consolidation week are: to evaluate a young referee's resulting progress at national level, to reinforce the introductory training, and to offer further development in body language, injury prevention and stress management.
Each of UEFA's 53 member national associations will be invited to send one referee and two assistant referees every year to join in the CORE programme. Successful participants receive the UEFA CORE diploma of achievement. National associations are also being asked to recommend referee coaches to assist the main instructors and senior coach.
UEFA took over the management of the Colovray facility in April, paving the way for the CORE project to begin its work of making a significant contribution to referee development across Europe.
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