|Referee clinic participants follow the lecture by Artur Mas under the watchful eye of the TV cameras|
A landmark referee clinic took place in Georgian capital Tbilisi in February, with the support of FIBA Europe.
Referee Instructor Victor Mas Rafols was invited by the Georgian Basketball Federation to participate in the clinic and assist local officials with developing the sport in the country.
It was the first time that the country organized a clinic with the support of FIBA Europe.
Georgia's national team registered two victories at EuroBasket 2011 to advance to the second phase of the competition and won over a lot of neutral fans.
It was a fantastic display by a nation which played in the Final Round for the first time ever and was competing in Division B as recently as 2009.
It was the best proof that basketball in Georgia is on the rise but after his visit to the country, Victor Mas can appreciate its significance even more.
"There are only 10 referees (three international among them) in the entire country, one of which is a Lithuanian who is there temporarily," Mr Mas explained.
"So a first problem is the low number of referees, because let's not forget that quality will come from sufficient quantity.
The senior national league games can attract crowds of five or even ten thousand but with referees at such short supply, the dates and venues of games at both senior and youth level have to be arranged with referee availability as the number one factor.
"The Federation is working on this and trying to attract new referees and one of the reasons for organizing the clinic was also to attract media attention, so that this turns into a public issue," Mr Mas admitted.
This aim was fulfilled at the official presentation of the clinic.
The presence of the Deputy Head of the Sport Department of the Georgian government, Mr Irakli Samkurashvili alongside Federation President Mr Besik Liparteliani made the media pay attention.
|Experienced referee instructor Artur Mas analyses a video clip during one of the lectures|
Four television stations and numerous national newspapers and websites covered the event.
"Georgia is in the process of creating a formal structure, a committee for referee training, with the aim of unifying the criteria, so everyone is on the same page," Mr Mas says.
"Of course increasing the numbers is a priority step. If the level of competition is high, one solution could be to encourage former players to become referees so as to take advantage of their basketball knowledge."
The main body of the clinic consisted of two lectures with referees, table officials and commissioners, together with the General Secretary of the Federation Merab Ratishvili, and Director of Officiating Roland Khomeriki in attendance.
The points discussed during the lectures were:
Mechanics of Officiating
- Constant movement according to the needs of the game.
- Looking for spaces between players.
- Areas of responsibility and competence.
- Don't guess
- Principle of advantage/disadvantage
- Reading the game
- Ball returned to the back court
- Three seconds