For some people the EuroBasket Women competition officially started four days early.
On Wednesday June 3rd, the 28 Referees, four Commissioners and two Instructors, plus the staff of the FIBA Europe Competitions and Referee Departments, gathered in Riga to prepare the 17th team for the top continental women's competition.
The official preparation actually started some weeks before, when all of the officials were required to enter
|FIBA Europe referees listen to a presentation at the clinic.|
the FIBA Europe Referee Website and begin their analysis of the games since 2007.
Divided into groups, the officials were required to make presentations on various aspects of the rules and the challenges that they will face in officiating the top 16 national teams in the following 2 weeks.
As well as game analysis, the officials were also put through their paces physically by Alejandro Vaquera, FIBA Europe's physical conditioning specialist, and participated in various exercises regarding their psychological preparation with Chema Buceta, who has worked with the referee department for the last three years.
Lubomir Kotleba, Sports Director of FIBA, who was a guest speaker emphasized the need for high level officiating in the high level competitions and how this should be achieved.
Referee Department Co-ordinator Miguel Betancor commented: "This is not really a clinic, we cannot teach the referees in three days. Having already selected who we feel are the best officials for this competition, it is our job to now support them in their work in the next two weeks and ensure that we also try to be the strongest team on the court, by having a consistent approach and clear officiating criteria in every game.
"We already made our teaching program in the last two years, now we have to support this group to officiate at the top level. The teams expect and deserve a 100% effort from the officials on and off the court."
Having also selected instructors to work with the referees during the tournament, as well as using the latest technology available, FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin also observed.
"We have tried to provide all the necessary tools and facilities to help the officials in their preparation for the games in Riga. This strategy of continuous learning and support has defined a great benchmark for us and also for the referees," commented Zanolin.
The officials were divided into two groups and traveled to the preliminary round games in Liepaja and Valmiera. In each venue they will continue to work with the Instructors and Referee Department staff until the end of the competition.