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The Referees of the TA Referee Academy

Today we introduce to you the referees for the 1st edition of the TA Referee Academy, Europe’s newest and innovative referee development project.

More than 400 referees applied for this great opportunity and, after a detailed selection process, 40 officials were selected to participate. They represent 18 different countries.

20 referees will take part to Level 1 of the Academy, which will take place at our tournaments in Paris (the Paris World Cup) and Oslo (the Norway Cup) in July 2017.

The remaining 20 will instead be at Level 2 of the Academy, and will instead participate to our events in San Sebastian (the Donosti Cup) and Esbjerg (the Ibercup Scandinavia).

During these two weeks they will be coached, mentored and assessed by our qualified team of referee instructors and professionals, some of whom regularly feature at UEFA and FIFA level.

Want to know more about the TA Referee Academy or register your interest for the 2nd edition which will take place during the summer of 2018? then take a look here.

Here are the referees. Congratulations to them all for being selected, and we look forward to working together next summer!

Level 1

Artin Afshari
CANADA
Artin Afshari, 20, Level X Referee from Calgary, Canada.
Andrew Bailey
ENGLAND
Andrew Bailey, 22, Level 5 Referee from Winchester, England.
Bryan Bijnens
BELGIUM
Bryan Bijnens, 21, Division 2 AR, from Neeroeteren, Belgium.
Euan Birch
SCOTLAND
Euan Ross Birch, 22, Category 3 Referee from Glasgow, Scotland.
Kieran Chell
ENGLAND
Kieran Chell, 18, Level 5 Referee from Lancashire, England.
Mitch Das
BELGIUM
Mitch Das, 23, Division 3 Referee from Bree, Belgium.
Daniel Dorgelo
NETHERLANDS
Daniel Dorgelo, 23, Class 4 Referee from Emmen, Netherlands.
Luis Esmoris
SPAIN
Luis Esmoris Ruiz de Alegria, 18, "Regional Preferente" Referee, from Oviedo, Spain.
Gian Feller
SWITZERLAND
Gian Feller, 18, 4 Liga Talent Referee from Bern, Switzerland.
Carlos Fernandez Buergo
SPAIN
Carlos Fernandez Buergo, 22, Segunda B Referee, from Oviedo, Spain.
Mauritz Grendin
SWEDEN
Mauritz Grendin, 22, Division 4 Referee from Umea, Sweden.
Gabriel Henry
FRANCE
Gabriel Henry, 18, JAF Referee from Paris, France.
Felix Hoffmann
GERMANY
Felix Hoffmann, 19, Bezirksliga Referee from Bad Wörishofen, Germany.
Sander Braten Johannesen
NORWAY
Sander Braten Johannesen, 23, Division 3 Referee from Bergen, Norway.
Bartosz Kasinski
POLAND
Bartosz Kasinski, 21, Level 3 Referee from Katowice, Poland.
Claes Knutsson
SWEDEN
Claes Knutsson, 21, Division 4 Referee from Karlstad, Sweden.
Robert Lauri
ESTONIA
Robert Lauri, 22, Level 2 Referee from Viimsi, Estonia.
Szymon Michniewicz
POLAND
Szymon Michniewicz, 21, Level 3 Referee from Lodz, Poland.
Viktor Paulinen
FINLAND
Victor Paulinen, 19, Division 4 Referee from Helsinki, Finland.
Marvin Schories
GERMANY
Marvin Schories, 18, Bezirksliga Referee from Hamburg, Germany.

Level 2

Clement Auclair
FRANCE
Clement Auclair, 18, Regional Referee from Bordeaux, France.
Oscar Avilés Hernández
SPAIN
Oscar Aviles Hernandez, 21, Regional Referee from Seville, Spain.
James Byng
ENGLAND
James Byng, 18, Level 5 Referee from Portsmouth, England.
Seth Galia
GIBRALTAR
Seth Galia, 17, Level 2 Referee from Gibraltar.
Wojciech Gryczka
POLAND
Wojciech Gryczka, 19, Level 7 Referee from Kwidzyn, Poland.
David Herzig
GERMANY
David Herzig, 24, Level X Referee from Furth, Germany.
Steven Hoefkens
BELGIUM
Steven Hoefkens, 20, Division 4 Referee from Antwerp, Belgium.
Jason Hon
HONG KONG
Jason Hon, 21, Level 6 Referee, from Hong Kong.
Antoine Jaquet
FRANCE
Antoine Jaquet, 18, Regional Youth Referee from Bordeaux, France.
Kuba Karczevski
POLAND
Kuba Karczevski, 17, Level 7 Referee from Gdansk, Poland.
Kieran Kennedy
SCOTLAND
Kieran Kennedy, 20, Category 6 Referee from Edinburgh, Scotland.
Gabriel Longoni
AUSTRIA
Gabriel Longoni, 22, Level X Referee from Vienna, Austria.
Pierre Lebot
FRANCE
Pierre Lebot, 23, Level X Referee from Angers, France.
Jeremy Muller
Luxembourg
Jeremy Muller, 22, Division 2 Referee from Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg.
Kristian Michel
SLOVAKIA
Kristian Michel,22, Level 3 Referee from Stropkov, Slovakia.
Givi Todua
ENGLAND
Givi Todua, 22, Level 4 Referee from Sunderland, England.
Zacharias Vaisbord
GERMANY
Zacharias Vaisbord, 17, Division 7 Referee from Erfurt, Germany.
Florian Vokuhl
GERMANY
Florian Vokuhl, 21, Level X Referee from Trier, Germany.
Adam Warner
ENGLAND
Adam Warner, 20, Level 5 Referee from Worcester, England.
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First Tournament in Japan!

japan It’s now OFFICIAL.

Tournaments Abroad will be heading to Japan next summer. European and American referees will have the opportunity of refereeing in yet a new edition of the Ibercup, the world’s most famous series of youth football tournaments.

The Ibercup Japan will take place in Gotenba, near Tokyo and Mt. Fuji, from August 22nd to August 26th. For this particular tournament we’re looking for up to 20 referees, all ages, nationalities and levels are welcome. As a referee you’ll be entitled to:

- Free accommodation in multiple rooms in a local hotel (likely to be Hotel Tokinosumika)

- Free food for the entire duration of the tournament (3 meals/day)

- Free local transport from accommodation to the venues and back.

- Free airport transfers to/from Tokyo airport (about 100 km away).

The only cost of referees will be travel (flights to/from Tokyo) and a small participation fee of €45 (or equivalent in £).

The tournament will see the participation of both Japanese and foreign referees and assessors. We expect a total of around 150 teams to take part for what will immediatly become one of Asia’s biggest youth football tournaments. Age categories will be Boys 11-13-14 and Girls 16.

Referees can expect to officiate 2-3 games per day, both as referees and assistant referees, and will also have some free time every day to visit Japan.

You can read more about Gotenba, the city where the tournament will take place, here.

INTERESTED? You can express your interest or apply by filling out the form you can find here.

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New: TA Referee Academy

Tournaments Abroad is delighted to announce the start of a new, innovative project for Referee Education that will take place at tournaments starting from next year: the International Referee Academy.

Over the last few years one of the main goals of our network has been to help referees develop their skills to the next level, and we have been thrilled in knowing that many officials have achieved great things after attending our events.

When last summer we started working on the Referee Academy project our idea was to find a way to strenghten our vocation to referee development, in a way that young officials could benefit from it even more. And this is the idea we came up with.

How will the Tournaments Abroad Referee Academy work? read more on the dedicated page.

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New: Tournaments Abroad Referee Levels

Time to announce the first of two new features “Tournaments Abroad” will be introducing in 2017: the new TA referee levels for all officials attending our tournaments.

Over the past few years we’ve been working on developing a level scheme which was both equal and fair to referees coming from many different nations around the World. Why an English referee might in fact be familiar with what “Level 6″ or “Level 5″ mean, how would he compare his level with that of a referee coming from France, Spain, Italy, Canada or any other country of the World? it would be almost impossible.

That’s right, each country has its own way to classify referees, and it is always hard, especially for tournament organizers, to compare different levels and systems to achieve fairness in assigments.

This is why we have decided to introduce the “TA Referee Levels” which we will be using from now on. Each referee will be classified just based on our own system, this will guarantee every assignor of our network a way to understand each official’s level.

The system itself will see levels in two different tiers: the development level (for younger referees) and the ordinary level (for all officials) and, much like in UEFA, referees will attain their new levels once they have reached certain milestones. Furthermore, like in FIFA, each official will earn his own “TA badge” upon reaching Development or Elite level.

Want to know more about this new system? Take a look to the dedicated page.

The TA Referee Levels

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Daniele Curcio interviewed by “The Third Team”

When Mark Clattenburg blew the final whistle in Saint-Denis’ EURO 2016 Final between Portugal and France, he concluded what can be seen as the most successful tournament in terms of refereeing in recent history. Participating in such international tournaments as a referee or referee observer is only possible for FIFA match officials or international referee observers – at least that’s what you might have thought until now. 

In fact, there are opportunities to join such events yourself: After the 25th team finished their job at France’s European Championship in the North of Paris, another refereeing team just gathered to take up their duties: The Paris World Cup 2016 was about to commence at the morning after the EURO final – with many young and talented match officials eagerly waiting for their opportunity to collect international experience and to apply the lessons learnt from UEFA’s top-flight officials.

Along with the famous “Ibercup”, the Paris World Cup is only one of many international refereeing opportunities organized by “Tournaments Abroad”. We talked with the organization’s director Daniele Curcio!

The 3rd Team: As the person who is in charge of coaching, appointing and assessing the referees officiating at your tournaments, you are doing a job similar to UEFA’s triumvirate “Collina-Batta-Dallas”, aren’t you?

Daniele Curcio: While this comparison honours me, we are far from that. First of all we work with referees who are very young, and still at the beginning of their referee careers. While we hope that many of them will make it to the top and will be able to work with the “big trio”, we are aware this is far from a given conclusion.

What was the idea behind “Tournaments Abroad”? 

As many other things, I must admit the entire project behind “Tournaments Abroad” started almost by chance. It was 2005 and I had been a referee for the past two years when I heard the story of a friend of mine, who lived nearby, who was a football player and went to play a youth tournament in Denmark: The Dana Cup. He mentioned to me of what a great experience it’d been and that the tournament was accepting referees from all over the World. I then applied to go one year later, to the same tournament and a few others that I had read about on the internet, and off I went, as a single referee, to officiate in international tournaments. Things then started to develop, tournaments got bigger and wanted more and more foreign referees to attend, and this is where TA was born. A young Italian referee from the small city of Brescia, had become the director of a network of referees hailing from more than 20 different nations. Something that, in all honesty, I would have never expected.

As indicated, the Paris World Cup is by far not the only competition you are supervising. What other refereeing events do you organize and which referees usually participate in them? 

Over the past few years we have worked with a number of different international tournaments. I could mention many, in many different countries, however I believe those we are better known for are the Ibercup tournament series and the Paris World Cup. The IberCup started in 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal (and was then named the Lisboa Cup), but has since developed into the World’s biggest network of international youth tournaments, with events in Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Poland, the USA and Japan. It is a very attractive tournament for players and referees alike, as the quality of football played there is very high, and the tournament itself sees the participation of many of Europe’s top football academies. The Paris World Cup is instead France’s biggest youth football events and, as the name suggests, takes place every summer in the French capital. It started only in 2014, and is since still developing. However, in my personal opinion, its potential is enormous.

The age, level and experience of our officials varies greatly according to whether they take part to “ordinary” or “development” tournaments. As a general rule though, the average age of our referees is quite low (around 20-21). Many federations in fact decide to send to our tournaments their “up and coming” officials, as they believe they could be the ones who benefit the most from these experiences. But we also like our more mature and experienced officials who can offer great support to the younger referees, by coaching and mentoring them during the tournaments.

In terms of nationality, over the past few years we’ve enjoyed the participation of referees from around 50 different nations, mostly European but also from the USA, Canada, Venezuela, China, Australia, Algeria, New Zealand, Pakistan and Uganda. I am proud to say that “Tournaments Abroad” has now become a really global brand and that every year many new federations and referees from all over the world express their interest in working with us. If you then ask me about the countries that are usually “the most represented” I must say England and the Netherlands. They send the bigger groups year after year, but we can count also on a number of other “regular guests”.

Obviously, there seem to be many different types, many different personalities and many different nations represented in the referee teams you are managing. Is that form of diversity a special challenge for you, e.g. with regard to establishing a uniform and predictable line of refereeing from one match to the other? 

It definitely can be especially when, in most cases, you work with these officials only for a week every year. However, we do not pretend to be able to necessary establish a uniform line of refereeing, as we do not intend to interfere with the work each federation does, rather we just want to offer all officials an extra opportunity to implement what their coaches and mentors teach them back home, every week and month.

Many of these young officials don’t have the opportunity of refereeing international football in their home countries and, unless they reach FIFA, never will be able to do so; by offering them such opportunity we believe we contribute in creating “more complete” officials, and this goes to the benefit not only of the referees, but also of their federations. And what a better way to do so then offering them exposure to foreign teams, foreign colleagues and great former and current international referees and instructors?

What conditions do you offer for referees and referee observers? 

This depends on the tournament they decide to attend, in most cases referees and observers are offered free accommodation, local transport and meals with the only expense they (or their federations) need to cover being the travel costs from the country of origin to the country the tournament is played in. However conditions may differ according to the event, the time of the year or the experience each referee or observer has.

How are the match officials coached and assessed, how do they get feedback on their performance? 

All the tournaments we work with, which in number exceed 40 events per year, are divided into three main categories which we call Ordinary, Development and Elite. While “ordinary” tournaments are open to any referee to attend, “development” tournaments (such as the Ibercup or Paris World Cup) are reserved to young up-and-coming referees who have a particularly keen interest in developing their referee skills, and become better officials. Finally the “elite” tournaments are small, professional teams only, events whose attendance is strictly reserved to referees who excel in other tournaments.

In all “development” tournaments we offer what we call “Tournaments Abroad” assessing and coaching scheme. Every referee (and almost every match) is watched by qualified assessors and observers who offer the referees advice on how to improve their performance, while giving the referee committee information on each referee’s qualities and skills, so that only the best are appointed to the finals. All assessments are based on the internationally recognized UEFA assessment scheme, so that whatever information we are able to get, can be useful also for each referee’s home association, should they want to consider it.

“By offering them such opportunity we believe 
we contribute in creating ‘more complete’ officials”

You receive support from highly qualified referees and referee observers at some of your tournaments – last year, Mark Clattenburg visited your refereeing squad at IberCup in Spain… 

Yes, over the last few years many current and former FIFA and UEFA officials have honoured us with their presence. Their support means a lot to us, and the feedback they can offer to our young officials is invaluable.

As you mentioned, Champions League and Euro Cup final referee Mark Clattenburg, has taken part to last year’s edition of the Ibercup Costa del Sol in Malaga, Spain. During his time there, he both refereed a few games (allowing us to make some young referees run his line, what an experience for them!), and had a Question & Answer Session with all the participating officials. We really hope he will be able to come back to our tournaments very soon, and has since expressed his interest in doing so multiple times.

Besides Clattenburg though, many other referees and observers have taken part to our tournaments. I’d like to mention in particular some of UEFA’s most experienced referee observers, who have come to assess the referees’ performances and offer them advice. Among them are former UEFA Referee Committee Vice-chairman Jozef Marko from Slovakia and UEFA referee observers Peter Fröjdfeldt (Sweden), Alan Snoddy (Northern Ireland), Konrad Plautz (Austria), Michel Vautrot (France) and Vladimir Medved (Slovakia). Other currently active referees who have taken part in the past are FIFA officials Danny Makkelie (Netherlands), Istvan Vad (Hungary) and Bobby Madley (England). Finally how not to mention current PGMOL coach Eddie Wolstenholme, the referee of the well-known English match nicknamed as the “Battle of Bramall Street”.

In future, there will be a partnership between Tournaments Abroad and The3rdTeam as part of a referee academy that is planned for 2017 or 2018. Can you tell us more about that and your general goals for the future?

In terms of our future plans, we are aiming at finding new events which are interested in implementing a referee development scheme and are currently in talks with a few of them, both in Europe and beyond. Although it is still a very broad idea, we are thinking of the possibility of creating an international inter-tournament referee academy which could be both real-life-based and web-based. This would consist in having a network of a certain number of young referees who work together year-round, mostly on-line, and get preparatory input to then meet 1-2 times every year at different tournaments where they’ll be able to experience tournament football, be assessed by qualified observers but also receive mentoring and coaching in their free time. We are currently securing deals with a number of organizations and coaches (like The3rdTeam) who would like to support that idea – in other words: Our goal is to bring together the “best” of different organizations to create some tangible refereeing project.

If you sum it up, what are the biggest benefits that young and talented referees draw from participating in these international refereeing opportunities? And how does refereeing as a whole profit? 

The possibility of refereeing teams from other countries, each with its different style of playing football, contributes to creating more mature, complete officials; referees who are able to officiate any game, and any team they may find in front of them. At the same time, the possibility of working with fellow referees from other countries allows our young officials not only to make new friends in the footballing and refereeing world, but also to share experiences, improve their language skills and much more. I believe that all the refereeing world, starting from the federations each officials belong to, have to gain from such an activity.

In the past weeks, we roughly discussed the opportunity that some The 3rd Team Referee Observers including our observer Edward and myself participate in one or the other of your 2017 tournaments. If our readers are interested in joining the tournament as referees or assessors themselves, too, how can they apply? 

Any referee or observer who is interested in attending is of course more than welcome to do so. Applications for our 2017 tournaments will be opening shortly (around the beginning of September) on our website, however, while applications may currently be closed while we finalize details for the coming year, “Tournaments Abroad” is open year-round. This means you can contact us anytime either by sending us an email to or by sending us a private message on our official Facebook page.
We really hope to see many of you at one or more of our tournaments next year!

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Tournaments 2017 – Applications opening soon

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It’s just July and the 2016 tournament season has just ended, but our mind is already focused on 2017.

Around the end of August we will officially open the applications for our 2017 tournaments. A month from now you’ll be able to apply to referees in more countries and tournaments than ever before. From the Ibercup in Portugal, Spain and four other different countries, to the biggest edition ever of the Paris World Cup in France, to many new ones. All details on destinations, dates and conditions will be released very soon.

Don’t miss out on such an opportunity. By signing up for our free newsletter (available HERE), you will ensure to be one of the first referees who will be told when applications open. With a limited number of places available in each event, this could be a significant advantage !

Looking forward to working with you all again very soon, in what we expect to be another exciting tournament season here at Tournaments Abroad !

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Referee Exchange in Canada

A new opportunity for all Tournaments Abroad referees.

We have recently teamed up with FIFCO, the International Federation of Corporate Football, to offer all our officials the possibility of travelling to Canada during the summer months on a referee exchange.

Throughout the summer referees will be able to referee a mix of corporate and semi-professional games in Montreal and Toronto as well as to attend referee training sessions together with Canadian referees.

Referees will be responsible for covering the cost of their flights to/from Canada, their accommodation and food while receiving game fees in exchange as well as a small stipend for local expenses such as transport and mobile phones.

Corporate games will be played April to July, while semi-professional games will mostly be played from late July to mid-September. Referees are welcome to travel at anytime and stay as long as they want, from a minimum of 2 weeks to the entire summer.

Tournaments Abroad will be organizing up to three groups of referees to travel together. The dates are the following:

1st GroupMay 18h to 25th (with the possibility of extending your stay by one or two weeks)

2nd GroupJuly 23rd to 30th (with the possibility of extending your stay by one or two weeks)

3rd GroupAugust 10th to 18th (with the possibility of extending your stay bu one or two weeks)

Each group will consist of a minimum of 4 referees to a maximum of 10. The advantage of joining a group is mostly reduced prices of accommodation (shared apartment) and the possibility of being guided by one of our referee instructors. However, referees are welcome to attend also on other dates and can get in touch with us should they want to do so.

More information are available also on the official FIFCO website at www.fifco.org

Are you interested in knowing more or applying? Then, contact us !

For more information you can also contact FIFCO’s own Vice President of Officiating Daniele Curcio at dcurcio@fifco.org

Corporate Games

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A week with Mark Clattenburg at the IberCup!

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When England’s top referee and esteemed FIFA official Mark Clattenburg accepted Referee Abroad‘s invite to come over and participate at the IberCup in Marbella, Spain, nobody could quite believe it. Mark said a key reason behind his decision was that the tournament was well-known and recommended by those at the very top of the game in England.

It proved an extraordinary week. Mark came over to help the young crop of talent that Referee Abroad had selected to officiate at the tournament, and even refereed a couple of games himself – providing a unique experience to those selected as his ARs and also all the guys who were able to watch him from the stands.

Mark also conducted two workshops for our referees including Q&A sessions in which he was extremely candid about his refereeing career, from racism allegations suffered at Stamford Bridge to refereeing last season’s Champions League semi-final.

Referee Abroad would like to thank Mark for coming and we know that our referees benefited hugely from his presence! See you next year!