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Kuala Lumpur: The development of world refereeing took centre stage in Asia on Tuesday as some of the biggest names in world refereeing gathered for the opening of the inaugural Refereeing Experts Workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The two-day workshop, which the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has organised, aims to understand the various refereeing strategies currently employed by all six Confederations and FIFA as well as to identify opportunities for closer collaboration.

Referees’ department heads and representatives from all six Confederations as well as AFC Referees Committee Deputy Chairman, Hany Taleb B S Al-Raeesi, FIFA Head of Refereeing, Massimo Busacca and FIFA Referees Committee Chairman, Pierluigi Collina were present to bring their expertise to the discussions.

AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John, who opened the workshop said: “The AFC has outlined our ambitions to ensure our players, teams and officials succeed on the world stage. We are here because we share common aspirations to raise the standards of officials worldwide. 

“Today’s forum provides great possibilities for progress through sharing and exchanging of ideas, and learning from the collective refereeing experiences worldwide.”

Beginning with the AFC, each Confederation shared their development structures on the first day and considered administration, education and development programmes, competitions management as well as training and preparations.

UEFA's Head of Refereeing Services, Chris Wild said: “All Confederations are diverse in various aspects. We may differ in size and application of methods but we also share similar experiences and outcomes. There are definitely areas for learning from every Confederation. The opportunity for partnership through this workshop is hugely important to enhance the landscape of refereeing holistically.”

Additional Assistant Referees, Video Assistant Referees and Goal-line technology were also discussed as representatives highlighted the need for continued uniformity.

CONCACAF Director of Refereeing Brian Hall, who officiated at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea Republic/Japan said: “This is a historic and vital meeting for all the Confederations because it facilitates the process of examining best practices and forging closer team work to address future challenges of modern refereeing. 

“Through the networking and sharing, it is beneficial for us at CONCACAF to maximise the different referees’ programmes, products and services, from grassroots to elite level that we are currently delivering. Ultimately we all have the same goal, to help every referee regardless of their nationality be the best they can be.”

FIFA Referees Committee Chairman, Pierluigi Collina, who will conclude the workshop tomorrow with a presentation and feedback session alongside FIFA Head of Refereeing Massimo Busacca, added: “I would like to thank the AFC for firstly thinking of and then organising this workshop. This is an excellent opportunity for the global refereeing family to share, learn and grow together. We hope that this will be the first of a long series of similar workshops.”

Photo: AFC