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Toluca: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) partnership took a huge step forward by activating the second Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in Manama, Bahrain on May 9, 2017.

Outlining the alliance, AFC referee Ahmed Eisa Mohamed Darwish of the United Arab Emirates is participating in the CONCACAF Program of Referee Excellence (PORE) in Mexico.

The inaugural programme consists of two four-week sessions, with the introductory course kicking off in January to February, and the certification course which began on September 4 and concludes on October 2.

Hosted by the Mexican Football Federation, PORE was established to provide an intensive and comprehensive refereeing learning experience to top national-level referees who have demonstrated talent and potential in the Member Associations.

As part of the programme, the participants are being trained by professional referees from Mexico as well as FIFA Instructors on technical, physical, psychological, and nutritional aspects.

AFC Director of Referees Department Shamsul Maidin who joined the programme to exchange on best practises, highlighted that PORE is a suitable model to learn from with regards to young talent development.

“Similar to CONCACAF, AFC is a very diverse region consisting of 47 Member Associations. This programme provides a significant opportunity to identify how referees from different countries and cultures can receive one direction to improve their professionalism, change the mentality and reach the top-level of refereeing.” said Shamsul.

The strive for excellence and the emphasis on refereeing education programmes at the early age are key missions to both Confederations, as exemplified by the pioneer AFC Referee Academy to be launched in the Asian football headquarters in November this year.

CONCACAF Director of Refereeing Brian Hall also said: “We are very grateful to have the opportunity of collaborating with the AFC to exchange best practices to further develop refereeing, while providing innovative tools to referees in order to improve their performance on the field."

Brian Hall also looked forward to future opportunities to strengthen this relationship and partnership with the AFC.

AFC referee Ahmed Eisa said: “We have been training very hard every day and learning from different sessions on and off the field.

“The programme is focused on achieving a high-level of refereeing, I would like to share this experience when I return to Asia.”

Within the course, Ahmed Eisa and referees from North America, Central America and the Caribbean region under 27 years of age who have exhibited the ability to be FIFA referees in the future, also received assignments to officiate in the Mexican Second Division, Third Division, U-20 or U-17 official competitions, followed by post-game match analysis.

Ahmed Eisa has been appointed to take charge of La Liga BBVA Bancomer MX U-20 clash between Cruz Azul and Santos Laguna on September 16.

The AFC referee previously performed as the fourth official at the same competition in the game between Club América and Veracruz on September 9.