Following a change in system for the qualification of FIBA Referees in Europe, the first clinic involving a 12 month qualification period recently came to an end in Mannheim during the prestigious Albert Schweitzer Tournament.
The current group of 33 candidates were put through their paces in games involving some of the best U18 teams in the world, providing the perfect test with which to assist them.
Richard Stokes from the FIBA Europe Referee Department commented: "We were absolutely delighted when the German Federation agreed to let us use this tournament for the final part of the qualification examination. Everyone knows what a high level tournament this is and the organisation is fantastic. President of the German Federation Mr. Ingo Weiss and his team of staff at the event made sure that we had the best conditions in which to work and they provided great support for this project.
"The referees themselves were subjected to more pressure and were required to perform at a higher consistent level than we have previously asked of candidates. they reacted very well and we were able to see some qualities in the referees that we may not have been able to find under our previous system. The success rate was very high and the quality of the officiating over the tournament was very, very good."
The staff, which included Miguel Betancor, Richard Stokes and Alan Richardson, plus Antonio Ojeda from the Technical Support team, worked in the classroom each day, and also on the court with post game analysis for the referees. Also present to see the referees was FIBA Sport Director, Lubomir Kotleba.
The qualification process including examinations on the Rules, English Language and the practical elements which were assessed from the games in the tournament.
The referees that qualified gained their FIBA licence with immediate effect and a number will be working in tournaments and games during the coming summer.