The FIBA Europe Referees Department has continued to support the development of all officials across Europe. The last month has seen clinics take place in Sweden and in Russia with the aim of improving officiating at all levels.
Sweden's top league, Ligan Basket, has committed to a system of three person officiating crews for the 2007-08 season, but the preparation have already begun. The Scania Cup, which is one the longest running youth tournaments in Europe, played host to 109 referees from various countries, including the 30 or so officials who will officiate in top league.
Swedish National Instructor Jan Holmin and Richard Stokes from FIBA Europe were on hand to teach and observe the officials getting to grips with three person officiating for the first time. In addition many other young referees attended the Scania Cup with the aim of improving their officiating over the five days.
|FIBA Europe meets with referees in Russia|
Stokes was joined by other FIBA Referees and Commissioners from Europe and beyond in assessing those on hand and giving feedback at the end of each day.
"The organisers here do such a great job assessing officials and moving around the many venues is pretty easy, but then again they have being doing this for many years!" said Stokes.
"The games here start at 8am and the last referees are not finished until after 10pm, so the days are long, but even late at night you can see the enthusiasm when we are reviewing the days officiating," continued Stokes.
"One of the most pleasing things is the increase in the number of women referees attending this tournament, and we have even devised some sessions specifically for them run by other female FIBA officials. In fact, the number of referees wanting to attend this tournament and clinic increases every year."
"It was a also a pleasure to see three person officiating introduced into the top league. I was able to see two of the play-off games during my stay, and as with the other leagues across Europe the games are demanding more and more from the referees. The guys did a great job in the games I saw, but three person officiating crews will undoubtedly help them and the teams in the future."
Meanwhile Stokes also joined Referee Co-ordinator Miguel Betancor in a recent visit to Moscow.
Centred around the Russian Cup, FIBA Europe participated in a joint clinic with Russian SuperLeague Referees and coaches. As well as the officials, Ettore Messina from CSKA and Dynamo Moscow coach Dusan Ivkovic were also in attendance.
Betancor commented, "Joint meetings such as this are good for improving the understanding of all parties. For sure we will never agree 100%, that is the nature of officiating and coaching, but we must at least understand how the officiating can affect the game, and the coaches can certainly educate us on what they are trying to execute on the floor."
Betancor spent three days working with various levels of referees, reviewing games from the Russian competitions as part of the clinic. One session was set aside for a young group of aspiring officials from the Moscow region.
"The officiating in Russia is improving, but it must continue especially as Russia is still one of the strongest countries and one that still has a huge potential for players, coaches and referees."
Last summer Betancor visited other major cities and there are plans to continue this programme in 2007.