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Fukuoka: The AFC Project Future Referees Course Batch 2015 concluded their third development course in Japan on Monday.

The programme returned to Fukuoka for its third development course, as it was held in conjunction with the ongoing Sanix Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament 2017, where the referees officiated U-17 international matches, which were filmed for post-match debriefing purposes. AFC technical instructors Niu Huijun (China PR) and Charles Cheung Yim Yau (Hong Kong) analysed and gave feedback to the referees on their performances on a daily basis.

Aside from the international experience gained at the Sanix Cup, along the programme the referees also took charge of local games at the Football Association of Maldives’ Dhivehi Premier League, FA Cup and U-21 Youth Championship.

Launched in 2007, the programme has effectively contributed to cultivating potential Asian refereeing talents at the early stage of their careers. AFC instructors identify promising referees at the AFC U-14 Regional Festivals of Football and the AFC U-14 Girls Regional Championship to be recruited into the two-year programme. The current eight participants were selected based on the previous two development courses conducted in Kuala Lumpur in 2016.

The main objective of the course was to evaluate the ability of the Project Future referees to handle real matches and assess their technical, physical and attitudinal skills, as well as speaking and written skills in English. The six-day course included classroom sessions to enhance their refereeing dexterity and provided them with instructions on topics such as tactical fouls, handball or offside.

At present, the foundations of the AFC Project Future Referees course have built on transforming dozens of yesterday’s potentials into today’s FIFA Referees. Two former Project Future Referees Abdulrahman Al Jassim (Qatar) and Casey Reibelt (Australia) have been shortlisted as candidates for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 and FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.

The graduation of the successful participants of the 2015 batch will be held in Kuala Lumpur, in September, 2017.

Photo: AFC

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