ISL’s initiative,Premier Skills Referee Development Programme

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Premier SkillsBritish Council and Premier League, have one again launced its hugely successful three day Referee Development initiative,in Mumbai from February 27- to March 1.The programme is done in collaboration with the Indian Super League and All India Football Federation.

Premier Skills uses football as a tool to help develop both community coaching and English language skills. The programme trains sports coaches, referees and youth leaders to return to their own communities and enhance their existing football sessions, whilst also developing their leadership skills and a greater understanding of the role football can play in tackling other social issues.

The Premier Skills programme began in September 2016 in Mumbai as a three-year partnership between Premier Skills, All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Football Sports Development Ltd (FSDL), a joint venture between IMG-Reliance and Star India.

Premier Skills programme began in 2007, 7,600 coaches and referees have been trained in 29 countries, who in turn have reached 1.2 million young people. Premier Skills has already delivered a highly successful programme in India, training 400 coaches, who in turn have reached 20,000 young people since the programme began .

The referee development programme will be led by Ray Olivier, Head of Professional Referee Development for the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL). He is now responsible for the training and development of all the match officials within the professional game. Ray will be supported by Iain Williamson, Match Observer & CORE Performance Coach, PGMOL.

Olivier had this to say about the proramme : “We are very excited to continue our Referee Development initiative in India as part of the Premier League’s ongoing commitment to support all levels of football in the country. The referees who take part in this programme will have the opportunity to further enhance their own refereeing knowledge and experience whilst also achieving personal goals. The programme will greatly improve their communication, decision making and leadership skills that will benefit them greatly for many years to come.”

Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF, said: “The All India Football Federation is leaving no stone unturned for development of Indian referees. I need to thank FIFA and AFC for all their support and help. Besides the educational courses, the operational AIFF referees academies are trying to unearth new talent from every nook and corner of the country. I take great pride in mentioning the achievement of Ms. Uvena Fernandes who officiated in the Final match of the U-17 Women’s World Cup. Initiatives like the Premier Skills Referee Development Programme will inspire and educate more referees for the future.”

The training will involve participants who are interested in becoming or further developing as a referee within their communities. Alan Gemmell, Director British Council India saidWith All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Football Sports Development Ltd (FSDL) Premier Skills in India will benefit the development of football in India in the coming years. This project is one of our key collaborations during UK/India 2017 – a year-long programme to celebrate the UK relationship with India, which connects young people in both countries and inspires them to build a relationship for the next 70 years.”

The programme strongly advocates gender equality through sport and strives to maximise the female participation. The 30 participants in the programme have been selected from the Maharashtra Football Association.