Page 18 - Referees

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n August 2011, The FA selected Sean
Dipple (FA Futsal Talent Group
coordinator/UEFA Futsal Delegate)
and Gavin Sartain (FIFA Futsal Referee)
to go to Japan with The FA/Japanese
FA partnership, as part of a Futsal
Referee Development Programme.
The relationship between both national
associations is excellent with Howard
Webb and his World Cup team - including
his Japanese World Cup final colleagues,
Lee Probert and Bob Madley - officiating
there during the summer and Japanese
officials coming to England in the
autumn. Here is their version of an
extraordinarily valuable trip.
“In late September, we flew to Tokyo and
met the key figures at the Japan Football
Association HQ - JFA House. Keith Hill, who
is on a two year FA secondment as a Referee
Instructor with the JFA and Yashiro ‘Zak’
Matsuzaki – FIFA Futsal Instructor and JFA
Boardmember, plus many other experienced
and former FIFA referees who are based and
work from JFA house, greeted the English
teamand welcomed them to Japan.
Futsal is professionally organised in
Japan with a national league (F-League)
comprising of ten teams (full-time and
semi-professional) in their Premier Division
and an extensive regional set up around the
country. Futsal is governed independently
by the Japan Futsal Federation; however
the JFA are responsible for refereeing
appointments and in-service training for
regional competitions and the elite Futsal
Referees. There are over 21,100 registered
Futsal referees and superb facilities. The
meetings with Zak were most impressive and
a great opportunity to absorb some of his
Futsal refereeing experience and knowledge.
The second day was a regional Futsal
tournament in Kofu which comprised
representative teams selected by their
prefectures (like English counties). The
standard was very high and an excellent
opportunity for Gavin to blend in with
referees being assessed for promotion to
the F-League Futsal national list. It was
an opportunity to engage in the various
styles of both referees and observers.
Gavin refereed on the Friday and gave
an impressive performance, to the
commendation of Japanese officials.
Sean attended an Assessors Seminar for new
observers at the second class level (first class
is the Futsal Referees Elite level) and was
asked to say a few words in Japanese! Gavin’s
match was chosen for all observers to watch.
The following day’s feedback demonstrated
that they were very impressed with his
performance, particularly his management
and communication skills, especially as he
was refereeing players of a different culture
and language.
Sunday was Final day and Gavin refereed
in a superb facility. Again, he produced a
high quality performance with another top
quality Japanese referee in a match of high
skill levels, intensity and speed, which is one
of the key differences from English Futsal.
Post- match comments were full of praise
throughout - it was again mentioned how
Gavin produced refereeing skills which were
now a benchmark for their development, in
particular player management.
Sean remarked at the time, “It has been
an excellent learning environment and a
totally worthwhile visit for both national
associations. It was an honour to work with
very experienced observers and Tutors
from the JFA, FIFA and AFC, which clearly
has helped me professionally. The legacy
of this visit to Japan ensures that the Futsal
Referee Development structure in England
Gavin Sartain and Sean Dipple