Hong Kong refs learning from the best

11 Nov 2017

At PL Asia Trophy in Hong Kong, Bobby Madley and PGMO team held workshops for experienced and up-and-coming local referees

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Chi Chi Law is a FIFA referee in Hong Kong with 11 years' experience, but even match officials as advanced as her have something to learn from their counterparts around the world.

This was why, when the Premier League Asia Trophy was held in Hong Kong this summer, the representatives from the PGMO who would be officiating the tournament gave workshops and training sessions to share their thoughts, insight and experiences as one of the highest-profile match officials in the world.

The team led by Select Group referee Bobby Madley worked under the Premier Skills programme with the Hong Kong FA to train match officials as experienced as Chi Chi as well as 50 local referees from an Under-19 academy to ensure that the next generation of officials would have the right skills.

"I learned a lot from Bobby’s team," said Chi Chi, who has also spent time in England as part of the project. "They were teaching us some basic skills for offside decisions and about fitness training.

"The Premier League is a football leader in the world so it is very important for us to learn from them.

"They are very professional and show me how to be a good referee. I really want to keep an exchange programme between Hong Kong and England.

"This is a very good chance for Hong Kong referees to learn from England.”

Chi Chi also got to put her experience to the test as a fourth official for Liverpool v Crystal Palace in the Premier League Asia Trophy.

“I’m supposed to control the bench, to control the coach, to not argue with the referee or assistant and I need to make sure the substitution procedure is correct,” she explains. “So much work to do. It's very busy!”

The less experienced Hong Kong referees at the workshop were not just from the U19 academy but people like Jessica, who has been an official for three years.

“The most important concept we learnt was about first impressions,” Jessica said. “They taught me how to use the whistle and our body language, how to stand firm and make other people have confidence in you.

“Bobby’s only 31 years old but he’s very experienced so he can share a lot of experience with us.

"All of them have a very positive attitude too, and that enthusiasm inspires us to also be positive referees.

“Bobby shared some stories as well, telling us he maybe made some mistakes and it will make him feel a bit sad for a few days, but he must recover.

He said, 'Success is not what you can do at the top, it’s how high you can bounce from the bottom when you have a failure.'

"It’s very important to have that experience.”

 See: About Premier Skills

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