Observers Make A Difference For Referees

19 June 2009

Just as the teams in Latvia have many scouts and observers watching their performance, the referees are under the same scrutiny.

FIBA Europe introduced observers to its tournaments during EuroBasket 2005 in Serbia and since then a combination of instructors and observers have been present at every youth and senior tournament.

"With the EuroBasket we are working with the referees each day. The observers use our new technology which allows us to capture and record plays that we feel the referees need to review, because it was either a poor, or a great example of officiating," explains FIBA Europe's Referee Coordinator Miguel Betancor.

"The observers are present at each game and of course give feedback to the referees, but we use the Observer Programme to show video highlights of the officiating, things we like and things we don't like.

"Before now, we had to spend a lot of time watching DVD's and editing what we wanted - now with this new technology, it is much quicker and we are more focused on what we provide for the referees. We are kind of coaching the referees, just as the team coaches do, we want to get the best out of our officials, and make sure they 'peak' when it's important. If we come here to teach, then we have got it wrong, although we will use many of the situations we find to teach less experienced referees after the EuroBasket.

"We need to support and coach our officials here and we will be doing the same in Poland to get consistent, fair officiating in all of the games."

"The Observer Programme was developed so that we can spend more time with the officials and less time in the editing room - so far we are pleased with it and many federations have also shown an interest in using it in their national competitions."

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