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Kuala Lumpur: The AFC Referees Committee met on Thursday at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and approved the establishment of a new AFC Referee Academy.

The AFC Referee Academy is scheduled to open later this year and it will be based at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur. The academy will focus on the AFC’s objective of increasing the number of AFC referees at world-class level and extending development support to the AFC Member Associations.

Talent development as well as identifying and preparing potential referees for the AFC elite referees panel will be key tasks of the academy. These objectives will be driven by syllabus excellence delivered by top educators. The curriculum will consist of a four-year programme, conducted at three levels: introductory, intermediate and advanced.

All AFC Member Associations can nominate two candidates to study at the academy. The programme will be open to both men and women referees.

The committee, chaired by Chung Mung Gyu for the first time, also agreed that the academy will replace the AFC Project Future Referees Programme.

In addition, the committee approved the introduction of age criteria for the recruitment of AFC referees. The suggestion of a 35-year age limit was approved and it will apply to football and futsal, from the 2018 season. The members agreed the change was necessary to ensure refereeing in Asia continues to be of the highest possible standard.

Photo: AFC