Local Referees get up to speed through FIFA Futsal Course

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The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Refereeing Department has partnered with FIFA to deliver an online futsal refereeing course to improve the standard of officiating in the fast-growing, small-sided form of the game.

The futsal refereeing course, delivered by FIFA Instructor Shane Butler under the auspices of the FIFA Regional Development Office, took place over three, two-hour sessions between March 8-10.

The programme provided 10 Guyanese referees with examples and guidance related to changes to the Laws of the Game for futsal, a fast-paced, five-a-side version of football played on an indoors court.

The course also covered areas such as fitness testing, handball scenarios, positions and mechanics, and goal-scoring situations.

“Futsal is a very exciting format of the sport. It is my belief that Guyana has the requisite talent to excel at the hemispheric level once regular competitions are held,” said GFF Head of Refereeing Dion Inniss.

“The quality of officiating has to keep pace, and this course sought to bring clarity to recent law changes. The presentation of other information has enhanced the knowledge of our referees.”

“While we would have preferred to have had an in-person programme, three evenings spent together using the Zoom platform was a resounding success,” he said. “The Department will continue to look for opportunities for continuing education through FIFA and Concacaf.”

While Guyana does not currently have an official national futsal competition, the GFF plans to introduce a futsal tournament this year, contingent on COVID-19 restrictions, as part of its 2021 calendar. The GFF will also facilitate a FIFA Instructor course for futsal in April to continue the development of the game.

Course participant Kenisha Prescott said the online course was “one of outstanding merit and edifying”.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the sessions,” Prescott said. “The content presented was well received and it was a great opportunity for discussion and to gain clarity.”

“Unlike field football, futsal is quite different and more technical; more focus is needed with immediate and accurate decision making,” she said. “This, in turn, requires a mind of sound judgment; a skill I sharpened during this course. This new information will definitely be useful in helping my colleagues and I become better futsal referees.”

Guyana last competed in futsal at international level during the Caribbean regional qualification round for the 2016 Concacaf Futsal Championship. The Golden Jaguars won one game against Antigua and Barbuda to finish third in their group behind second-placed Trinidad and Tobago and first-placed Cuba, who eventually won the Caribbean qualification round.

“The course was very informative and insightful. We would have made a very large leap forward with the interpretation of the Laws of the Game,” said Lenval Peart, a course participant and prospective instructor.

“I hope the participants soaked every bit of information like a sponge, this course only can make the futsal referees and the entire futsal community better. The aim is to raise the bar of our futsal referees and as a consequence, in the not too distant future, produce international futsal officials.” (GFF)

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