Heads of refereeing gather for first convention in Vienna

EHF / Björn Pazen

This weekend will see a new initiative of the European Handball Federation come to life when the first Convention for Heads of Refereeing from across Europe takes place in Vienna on Friday and Saturday.

A total of 38 member federations have registered their representatives for the convention, which includes key topics, including changes to the IHF Rules of the Game, on its packed agenda for the weekend.

For George Bebetsos, coordinator of the EHF Referee Programme, there are many goals to be achieved at the two-day meeting.

“The EHF has organised this convention considering the need to promote the role of heads of officiating at the national level, inform the EHF member federations on the upcoming changes in the Rules of the Game, contribute to improving the quality of referees and delegates as well as the way that refereeing is organised within the various EHF member federations,” Bebetsos said.

“We also inform the national federations on the EHF Officiating Programme and provide them with accurate feedback on the use of technology in handball officiating,” he added.

In general, the status and education of referees and delegates within the various EHF member federations shall be enhanced as well as those federations’ responsibility for appointing reliable and suitably qualified referees and delegates for their competitions, and consequently quality candidates for the EHF badge. Education or development programs shall be put into the spotlight.

“We want to maintain and improve the standard of refereeing from the grassroots level upwards. Therefore, one presentation is about the EHF Young Referees Project”, Bebetsos explained.

After the official opening by EHF President Michael Wiederer and EHF Secretary General Martin Hausleitner, the two coordinators George Bebetsos and Marcos Bestilleiro present the EHF Officiating Programme.

Another point of focus is the use of technology in handball refereeing; part of it is the presentation of the new advanced referee communication system provided by Vokkero’s Malik Sayadi. EHF TRC chairman Dragan Nachevski informs the participants on the preparation of the referees for the Women’s EHF EURO 2022 in November, followed by FitGood Pro’s Sergi Cedrun underlining the importance of the referees’ conditioning and wellness programme.

The major topic of session two is match-fixing and competition manipulation in handball, presented by official EHF partner Sportradar’s Andrew Whittingham.

“Referees play an essential role in upholding the values of fair play and integrity and protecting the players and the game,” Bebetsos underlined.

On Saturday, Per Morten Södal, the new Chairman of the IHF Playing Rules and Referee Commission, explains all major changes of the IHF Rules, which will take effect as of the 2022/23 season.

Also, EHF TRC members Oyvind Togstad (Norway) and Jutta Ehrmann-Wolf (Germany) present the status of refereeing inside a national federation.

The final session on Saturday afternoon is reserved for a plenary discussion and a closing summary of the convention.

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