Wednesday 20 November 2013
Female referees in Tunisia said that they learnt "many new and memorable skills" attending a development course run by Premier Skills in Tunis.
"I have acquired important information about the laws of refereeing and will do my best to pass it on to fellow PE teachers"
Last week 40 female grassroots football referees from across Tunisia were able to enhance their officiating skills and knowledge at a Premier Skills course led by Ray Olivier, the former Premier League referee, and Sarah Garratt, the FA Women's Super League referee.
At the course in Tunis the grassroots referees were taught about the Laws of the Game, with the focus on the practical application of those laws, as well being provided with skills to further their refereeing knowledge both on and off the field. It was an experience that was well received and the aim is that those at the course will pass on their knowledge to others in the country.
"The organisation and new skills delivered to us by the outstanding referees from the UK made this course a great success," Amira Gharsalli, a 28-year-old PE teacher, said. "I have acquired a great deal of new and important information about the laws of refereeing and I will do my best to pass on what I have learnt to fellow PE teachers so they can help their students and teach them the correct laws of football.
For Donia Ben Ali, 27 and unemployed, it was her first opportunity to take part in such a well-organised course. "I received a nice referee kit and equipment and had the chance to meet female referees from throughout the country for the first time," she said.
"Introduction to Refereeing" coincided with the Hammamet Conference 2013, which brought together senior leaders from five North African countries and the UK to improve understanding and enhance mutual trust. Ten conference delegates from Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and the UK observed the Premier Skills trainees demonstrate practical leadership techniques in match situations, such as, player management and controlling confrontations between players.
What is Premier Skills?
It combines the global appeal of the Premier League with the reach of the British Council to use football to develop a brighter future for young people around the world. Drawing upon the Premier League's domestic expertise, it uses football to tackle social issues in the community, such as health, disability, gender, inclusion and education
At the end of the course the female grassroots referees practised their new skills officiating a community-based event involving 40 local children invited by local non-governmental organisations who support deaf and orphaned children.
Children from local football clubs also took part in a tournament that was facilitated by five Premier Skills community football coaches and supported by the Tunisian Sport For All Federation.
"At home the Premier League and our clubs have a long-held commitment and reputation for delivering high-quality community and education programmes," said Richard Scudamore, the Premier League's Chief Executive. "Given our popularity and success internationally we felt it only right to take this approach to a wider community. The Introduction to Refereeing course, which launched in Tunisia this week, will build on these achievements."
British Council Chief Executive Martin Davidson, as well as expressing his delight at "this unique project" combining English and football arriving in Tunisia, highlighted that it will complement Premier Skills' recent commitment to have more female participants in its programme.
"This course will help empower women to make a real impact on the challenges facing their communities"
"This referee development course will help to train grassroots level referees in the skills of the profession while, at the same time, empowering the women that take part to make a real impact on the issues and challenges facing their communities," Davidson said.
PE teacher Marwa Amairia was grateful for the opportunity to spread the word to her contemporaries in Tunisia.
"I was very happy to take part in this training course and I enjoyed the enormous benefit of learning lots of new and memorable skills, particularly when I put into practice everything we learnt in our classroom sessions," she said. "Thank you for investing time in and reflecting the importance of the female refereeing sector."