FIBA Europe’s Referee Clinics in Gran Canaria came to an end Tuesday, 22nd June, but have only kicked off the plans for the new FIBA Europe Referee Department.
The past month has kept the University of Las Palmas, 223 referees, 44 referee instructors, 10 commissioners, four referee candidates, multiple tutor referees and FIBA Europe Referee Co-ordinator Miguel Betancor busy.
However, looking back at the past 26 days, Betancor said the time and efforts were well worth it.
“Finally, I am very satified because we have introduced the new technology, ideas and principles, but for me the most important work is the atmosphere,” Betancor said. “The relationship between the referees and FIBA Europe is fantastic. We need to take pride in each other and believe in each other, and now the referees believe in FIBA Europe and our philosophy.”
Betancor said that he was glad to see the referees leave the clinics with the understanding that they really are part of the FIBA Europe team.
|Gran Canaria provided the perfect setting for a referee clinic|
Betancor was not the only person to walk away from the clinic noticing the dynamics of the relationships in FIBA Europe. International Referee Jonas Bille, 32, of Denmark said they added to FIBA Europe’s professionalism.
“I think the professionalism sort of catches your eye right away,” said Bille, who has one year of international refereeing behind him. “The friendly, good relations between everyone were great. Everyone was working in the same direction. That made a very positive impression on me.”
Bille and other referees agreed that the new communication and technology available through the Referee Department Web site added to this impression and to the open relationship with FIBA Europe.
“I think the leaps that FIBA Europe has taken in making a Referee Department and creating the new technology were very important to all of us,” Bille said. “Most of us were looking forward to this, but not really knowing what to expect and I think we were sort of taken by surprise by the new Web site and all the help that is available. That was great for us.”
Referee Karolina Andersson, 30, of Finland agreed, saying that the new technology was the best part of the clinic for her.
“I felt that it is so much more open now,” she said. “You can get the information from the Internet, as well as nominations and things like that.”
Antonio Gallo, 49, a tutor referee from Spain, said he appreciates that the new Web site’s communication capabilities will improve the refereeing in Europe.
“This Web site is specially designed for referees and instructors and communication,” Gallo said. “This means that our relations and our team work will be improved. We can refer to all the knowledge of our members in the officiating world.”
Betancor emphasised the the new technology is very important for the education of referees in the future. Though the referee clinics do not take place every year, the education has to continue to maintain a high quality officiating in Europe.
Andersson, who has been an international referee since 2001, said she hoped the clinics would continue, admitting that the education she received was well-needed. For Andersson, it was very important to learn more about the criteria for officiating FIBA Europe games, especially on the diverse European scene.
“I don’t know what [FIBA Europe is] going to do in the future, but I hope that there will be more clinics,” Andersson said. “If you want to improve, you have to have those kind of clinics and the education in the tournaments. [You have] to get feedback.”
Andersson can rest at ease. The Referee Department’s plans for educating referees include special clinics for instructors, new referees and potential referees, as well as various seminars and workshops and, of course, the Web site.
The continual instruction available through such seminars and the Web site is necessary for implementing the changes that will improve basketball officiating in Europe. One of these changes implemented at the clinics in Gran Canaria was three-person mechanics.
Gallo, who has been an international referee for 15 years, said he appreciated learning three-person mechanics.
“I think that [three-person mechanics] will contribute to getting better decisions and contributions from all referees,” he said. “The performances of the referees will be much better. I have seen all the modifications and I consider them very interesting.”
Giampaolo Cicoria, 41, has been an international referee since 1993 and has spent the last year using three-person mechanics in Italy. Cicoria commented that more time to practice the mechanics would have been beneficial to referees new to the tactics, but said he was glad that the philosophies behind the mechanics were included.
“The instruction of three-person mechanics was well done because it was made clear that it is impossible to call well with two-person mechanics,” Cicoria said.
Bille, who said he had been looking forward to learning the three-person mechanics, agreed.
“Sometimes when you are learning, you tend to forget the philosophies behind things,” Bille said. “What was important here (at the clinic) was that we stayed on top of the philosophy. It was the main focus and I think that is the way referee instruction should be done.”
Bille said that throughout the clinic, the instructors were exactly who they should have been: “experienced top referees who know an enormous amount about basketball.” He said he tried to soak in as much information as possible from such experts as Betancor and Luigi La Monica.
“I just hope we can keep up the good work,” Bille said.
With enthusiastic, well-prepared referees, like Gallo, Cicoria, Andersson and Bille, Betancor is confident.
“No problem,” he said. “We are ready.”