|Richard Stokes, Head FIBA Europe Referee Department, gives a lecture to referees in Tokyo, Japan |
Although FIBA Europe's territory already stretches across the whole of Russia to the Asian Coastline running south from Vladivostok, the Referee Department took a further step earlier this year when Richard Stokes was invited by the Japanese Federation to conduct a series of lectures based around their Cup Finals.
With the games being held in the old Olympic complex that was constructed for the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 1964, the four best men's teams played a Final 4 format with the rest day between the semis and final showcasing the women's final.
Around 65 referees attended the meeting from all over Japan and Stokes gave lectures on the main teaching points that are used in Europe, a continent that is widely recognised as having some of the best officials in the world.
"We spent a lot of time talking about communication and game management as well as reviewing the current mechanics system for three-person officiating," said Stokes, who was impressed by the standard of basketball.
"The games were very, very competitive and there were actually a number of players and coaches who have worked in Europe. This gives a great challenge to the officials and whilst they have good technical knowledge, we put a lot of emphasis on how and when to communicate with players and coaches in order to manage the game as we would in Europe."
Over the three days Stokes was able to give direct feedback to the officials in four games as well as use some video analysis via the current FIBA Europe/FIBA Americas Teaching Materials.
"They have a good number of FIBA referees, and some of them are quite young," reflected Stokes, adding, "Japan also boast a good number of women referees, some of whom have already attended major championships like the Olympic Games in London.
"It was very enlightening to work with them and we already have a longer term working relationship with Japanese referee and Instructors such as Nobuo Hashimoto (who arranged this clinic). This kind of collaboration enables us to all to get a much more rounded view of our global game and the officiating within it. Of course we are always working to ensure that there are no regional or continental differences, but these exchanges help us down this road."