Preparing the next generation of refereeing excellence
The Referee Abroad Academy (RAA) is heading for its fifth edition in 2023 and is remaining committed to its aim of preparing the next generation of refereeing excellence by identifying and developing young high-potential referees and assistant referees from across Europe.
The RAA programme marks the focus point of Referee Abroad’s development efforts and started in 2017. After two seasons subsequently held at the Paris World Games 2017 and 2018, the RAA has been successfully moved to the Donosti Cup held in San Sebastián, Spain, in the second week of July.
Each year, 16 match officials – twelve referees and four specialised assistant referees – are selected to join the RAA. Usually aged between 18 and 25 years, they are mostly officiating in advanced (youth) leagues in their respective national association and join the RAA to receive valuable impulses by international referee coaches.
“Our mission is to support and qualify aspiring referees and assistant referees in managing the crucial steps to their national associations’ top leagues by providing them with valuable advice in a unique learning environment. Moreover, we are committed to preparing these high potentials for the chances, challenges and spirit of international refereeing by carefully trickling down modern refereeing standards and requirements while respecting the referees’ individual learning background.”, RAA Director Niclas Erdmann says.
“Our vision is to add an essential part to the next generation of European top refereeing. If our referees and assistant referees advance to higher national leagues or even programmes like UEFA CORE in future – and maybe even thanks to the advice and learnings they have taken from the RAA – then our vision is met.”, he adds.
For this, the RAA combines a unique physical learning environment at the tournament including post-match-analyses and technical sessions with remote development opportunities such as video-based learning, personality profiling and 360°-feedback.
Interested? Please find more information below!
Features: What the Referee Abroad Academy offers
Refereeing at an International Tournament: Donosti Cup 2023
Participating in an international youth tournament marks the core of the RAA concept: The 12 referees and 4 assistant referees selected for the 2023 edition of the RAA will attend the Donosti Cup in San Sebastián, Spain (4 to 9 July 2023).
Separated into teams of four, all referees and assistant referees will officiate Under-16 and Under-18 games on a daily basis and encounter football teams from various countries. More information on the tournament can be found here.
Learning by Observing:
Feedback by international referee coaches: Post-Match-Analysis
Feedback is the breakfast of champions! Therefore, the RAA aims at providing our referees and assistant referees with honest feedback on their performances and potential.
Each game is observed by a referee coach. Based on his observations and the video footage recorded, he will analyse and discuss each game together with the referee team in a post-match-analysis (classical debriefing-format).
The referee coach will offer all-encompassing advice on what has been done well and what can be improved how in future.
Discussing match incidents in the whole group: Clip Review
During the week at the tournament, the whole group of referees and assistant referees will gather several times – among others to discuss match incidents in a dedicated Clip Review.
This gives all referees and assistant referees the opportunity to learn from each other’s daily experiences, share impressions and opinions and expand their perspective on diverse refereeing topics or even approaches.
In these reviews, the focus is clearly put on “what can we learn from the situation?” rather than finding errors or faults.
Learning more about refereeing:
Besides fully focussing on the performances shown during the tournament, the RAA also offers our participants general input on relevant officiating topics.
Our educational sessions offer new perspectives on different aspects of refereeing, such as: “Game Management”, “Personality”, “Psychological Effects in Refereeing”, “Assistant Refereeing Skills”, and “Teamwork”. Moreover, we make use of interactive methods such as live votings on match incidents.
Learning and practicing outside:
In order to promote transfer from theory to practice, some elements of our educational programme take place in practical sessions on football fields.
This offers the referees and assistant referees the possibility of learning and testing what has been learnt in the most credible and relevant environment possible. Topics such as fitness, positioning and movement or cooperation in the team usually are focused in these sessions.
RefPal Video Education
Before the tournament, all RAA participants are prepared for their tasks at the tournament in a consistent manner across the group and offered another educational benefit by an innovative video-learning tool called RefPal.
In RefPal, all RAA participants will have the opportunity to judge match incidents based on their opinion, compare their judgments within the RAA learning group and track their individual learning progress.
360°-Feedback & Personality Test
Moreover, these Referee Coaches joined the RAA in the past: Detelin Baialtzaliev (Bulgaria), Ian Blanchard (England), Adrian D. Casha (Malta), Dejan Filipović (Serbia), Andy Himsworth (England), Zdravko Jokić (Serbia), Leif Lindberg (Sweden), Jozef Marko (Slovakia), Patrick Neuwirth (Austria), Damian Picz (Poland), Gregor Rojko (Slovenia), Uno Tutk (Estonia), and many more committed people!
Accommodation in a student residence (double rooms with private bathrooms) is fully included in the price.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner options are provided by the tournament and free for all referees and assistant referees.
All match officials are provided with sports nutrition during the days.
Bus transfer from and to the airport closest to the tournament (Bilbao Airport) is organised and fully included.
Transfer to and from the stadiums is organised by a free access to rental cars for each respective referee team.
Referees and assistant referees cover their flight (or train) costs themselves.
The RAA is a non-profit-project organised by a group of committed volunteers.
In order to cover arising costs, a participation fee is charged from all referees and assistant referees.
Benefits for referees and assistant referees
Reasons to apply for the RAA – your benefits as a participant
The Referee Abroad Academy has proven to be a premium experience. It encompasses an elite 360° approach to Refereeing: focusing on the psychological and performance-related facets of the game, in-depth post match analysis tools, allowing you to review your Key Match Decisions individually and collectively plus exposure to FIFA and UEFA coaches who offer their development insights throughout, just to name a few key features.
This well managed and well co-ordinated experience is shared with Referees from all over the world, who operate to a high standard, therefore making the RAA a football-cultural, competitive and a truly unique experience that I would recommend highly to ambitious and dedicated Referees and Assistant Referees.
Liam Vitoria (England)
The Referee Abroad Academy provided an amazing opportunity to experience something completely new to me: A very professional approach, great personalities of world refereeing in combination with challenging games helped me to improve my skills and to make myself “a more complete referee”. If you would like to get international experience, learn new things and make new friends all over the world, joining the Referee Abroad Academy is a must.
Milan Vyhnanovský (Czechia)
I joined the Referee Abroad Academy not knowing what to expect. I liked the idea of refereeing abroad and thus improving my skills as an assistant referee. What I got was beyond my expectations! I got the opportunity to assist referees from different countries, encountering so many different styles of refereeing, pre-match preparations and match debriefings with international assistant refereeing specialists. But most importantly I made a lot of new friends. As a natural consequence, I applied for the next edition of the RAA again.
Tomaž Pirman (Slovenia)
Dejan Filipović (Serbia)
An exciting opportunity to assist in the nurturing of young match officials by helping them identify their strengths and development areas, and giving them advice to fulfill their potential. I definitely recommend this to every committed observer.
Adrian Casha (Malta)
Your Potential Destination
The beautiful city of San Sebastián is the destination of the RAA in 2020. Learn more about it and the Basque region here! © WikiCommons
Applications for the 2023 edition of our Referee Academy are not open yet.
If you have any questions or would like to receive more information on the project, please do not hesitate to contact us either by writing an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by submitting your message in our contact form.