Page 21 - Referees

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can improve even more and maintain a high
standard and look forward to implementing
some of the measures and knowledge.
It clearly will benefit the development of
Futsal Referees and the Futsal Referee
Development Programme in England.”
The second week presented Japan’s elite
Futsal League, The F-League, followed by
two training matches and practical/fitness
sessions. The training matches were of a
high intensity and Zak Matsuzaki provided
valuable development points to Gavin
to prepare him for the demands of their
F-League. Sean and Gavin also had the great
pleasure of spending an afternoon and
evening in the company of Yuichi Nishimura,
fourth official in the FIFAWorld Cup Final.
It was pleasing to hear him assert that his
Futsal Refereeing had developed his skills
for 11-a-side football on decision-making,
alertness/awareness and anticipation of
play, due to the speed and intensity. We
learned many aspects of refereeing from him
in our long conversations, in particular his
communication and management skills as a
FIFA Referee on the international stage, plus
a master class on the use of chopsticks!
The next day we went to Osaka on the
famous Shinkansen (Bullet Train) as Gavin
was to officiate in two matches as third
Referee and later, as Referee, which allowed
him to work more closely with Zak and his
team and move up to a different level with
their FIFA officials and experienced referees.
In Kobe, we watched Japan play Vietnam
in the Kirin Cup. The stadiumwas full with
a 30,000 capacity and a smaller version of
Wembley. The support was fantastic and
produced a great atmosphere which helped
with the home nation taking the win.
The weekend proved to be an eye opener on
how well the F-League was promoted
and supported in Osaka. Teams usually play
home/away matches but on occasion, meet
at a central venue, which was this weekend.
The games on the F-League were a great
experience in so many ways: the teams are
well supported and are filmed for a national
highlights show. For Gavin, officiating on the
matches gave him the opportunity to work
with other FIFA referees and be a part of a
unique trial of an official communication
system. Still in its early trial stage by the
manufacturer, this was a first in Futsal
for Gavin and proved to be a very useful
communication tool in the matches.
Refereeing the games proved to be physically
challenging as the speed of the game was
played at such a high intensity for the whole
duration. The players’ fitness and skill levels
where very high. Both matches went very
well; Gavin was observed by Zak, Sean and
two of the AFC’s top observers from Australia
and Malaysia, who had come to watch one of
the Japanese referees in a final assessment
for the AFC Elite futsal referee list.
After the games, we attended a seminar
on tactics at set-plays by the Japanese
Futsal teamHead Coach Miguel Rodrigo.
He explained how players are coached to
manipulate and manage their space on the
field by use of their bodies and arms and
how the game is managed by referees in
Spain and Brazil. Miguel was sharing the
information to make the referees more aware
and help improve the standard of refereeing
as the league is gaining in strength and
attracting top players from all over the world.
The next day we attended the National
Futsal Referees meeting where physical,
theory and analysis sessions were delivered.
The topics came from the previous month’s
issues on the F-League.
The trip was extremely hard work but vastly
rewarding. We undoubtedly left Japan with
more knowledge and experience, pleased
that we had been able to contribute to
strengthening the development of refereeing
in Japan and England.
Gavin, when asked what he had gained
from his experiences in Japan, replied, “I
have certainly come away a better referee
as a result of the visit to Japan. I was able to
focus on refereeing for those two weeks and
worked hard on the feedback, knowledge and
advice to take into the next game from some
of the key figures involved at the JFA and
FIFA. The advice was invaluable and having
the opportunity to referee with some of the
elite officials was fantastic.
The JFA staff were absolutely wonderful and
words cannot express how grateful we are for
their efficiency, planning and courtesy with
the visit to their wonderful country. Keith
Hill was excellent in the details/liaison of the
exchange and accompanying us to Kofu. He
was without question a fine ambassador for
the English FA in Japan.
The two weeks in Japan were very
beneficial and we learned and shared many
experiences from veteran personnel. We
would also like to sincerely thank The FA,
particularly David Elleray, Ian Blanchard,
Roger Vaughan and Laura Woolcock for
offering us the opportunity to represent
English refereeing and to experience Futsal in
another continent.”
The games on the
F-League were a
great experience:
the teams are well
supported and are
filmed for a national
highlights show
Gavin Sartain and Sean Dipple
with FIFAWorld Cup Final Fourth
official, Yuichi Nishimura