Could you please briefly introduce yourself and tell us about Tournaments Abroad please ?
My name is Daniele Curcio, I’m from Italy and I am the President of Tournaments Abroad, the world’s largest international refereeing network. Since I became a referee in 2003, I’ve dedicated myself to refereeing. I started Tournaments Abroad in 2010 together with my English colleague Matthew Day. Tournaments Abroad is now a major refereeing operator in many countries around the world, and all continents. Every year we manage all aspects connected to refereeing for 20+ major international tournaments, from the Paris World Games to the Ibercup tournament series, and we welcome, coach and train 1000+ officials from all around the World.
What were your selection criterias for the PARIS WORLD GAMES ?
The Paris World Games is our single biggest event. In order to cover all games during this great event, we have selected a total of 135 referees. We have officials of all levels of experience and backgrounds, in order to have the right one for each game, from the more challenging Under 19s games via the playoffs and all the way to the finals. Our main focus is on developing referees. For this reason all referees attending the tournament are what we call “future prospects”. Referees who have shown potential to become top-level officials in the years to come, and need international experience to achieve their dreams. The Tournaments Abroad refereeing group at the Paris World Games is certainly one of the most talented group of officials at any international youth tournament worldwide.
How many nationalities are present among the referees of the Paris World Games 2018?
This year we are delighted to be able to count on the presence of referees from 33 different countries, a new record for the Paris World Games. Aside from the numerous referees from England, France and The Netherlands, we are really proud of welcoming some officials from new nations, the first time we have seen them at PWG or Tournaments Abroad! To name a few: Sanjay Karki from Nepal and the official groups sent by the Federations of Kosovo (led by Valbon Hoxha) and Latvia (led by Jevgenijs Keziks). I’d also like to mention Greece, Serbia and Israel who will be represented. Finally, a shout out goes to the 3 match officials coming all the way from Australia, including our youngest ever referee Jock Quartermain, and his brother William. In short, we have a really global group and we are very proud of that!
What will help these referees to excel?
Referee development is our absolute priority. In order to offer all officials a chance to become “better referees”, we have put in place a support team of observers and assessors that will help them excel both on and off the field. Observers are rarely mentioned when it comes to refereeing, but their role is essential in ensuringreferees have all the tools at hand in order to proceed.
Tournaments Abroad and the Paris World Games have persevered in recruiting, year after year, a growing number of observers whose role will be to mentor, coach and evaluate the performance of our officials. Their role has a double, equally important significance – first, it guarantees that only the best referees will get the finals, second it will offer all officials a chance to look back at their performances and learn how to perform even better in their next game. I’d personally like to mention the great job done by John D’Arcy, our assessors coordinator, who carefully selected 21 observers for this year’s event.
What will bring those exceptional referees to Paris World Games?
Paris is of course a very charming and welcoming city, and the Paris World Games offers referees the opportunity to improve while making new friends from all around the world.
The possibility of refereeing teams from a number of countries such as Iraq, Algeria, Zambia and many others is a wow factor that not many tournaments offer. These are teams referees don’t normally officiate in their local leagues and who play a completely different style of football, offering a new challenge to all our officials. It’s like a mini World Cup for them!
Finally, I’d like to mention a very special program that Tournaments Abroad started last year, in conjuction with the tournament, which is called the “Tournaments Abroad Referee Academy”. This is an elite development group for 20 young referees from around the world selected by us. They get the opportunity to train,develop and receive coaching from some of the world’s most well-known referee instructors, many of whom are active at UEFA and FIFA level. To mention a few names, we are proud to have in our team former FIFA referee Michel Vautrot, current Premier League referee David Coote, and many other UEFA officials such as Adrian Casha, Sten Klaasen, Leif Lindberg. The Tournaments Abroad Referee Academy makes the Paris World Games an even more attractive tournament for young up-and-coming referees from all around the world.
In your opinion, what are the main values of football and refereeing?
The referee is quintessentially a figure who loves to see good, fluid football. No referee wants to intervene with yellow and red cards; no referee wants to be in the midst of a controversial incident.
We are all lovers of the beautiful game and strong backers of fair play. Football is at its best when played fairly and to the spirit of the laws of the game, and a referee will always strive to uphold these principles.
Finally, What do you think is a good referee ?
As the saying goes, a referee has had a good game when no one notices that they were on the field! A referee always does their best to allow the game to flow, whistling as little as possible and constantly communicating with players and coaches alike.
What many spectators aren’t aware of is the incredible work a referee does when the whistle is not in their mouth: speaking with players, observing how the teams are playing, analysing potential problems and confrontations that may lie ahead.
A referee should always be respected, but utter, complete respect is a characteristic that is earned before and during the game. This means from the moment that the referee meets the players, shakes hands with the captain, and interacts with the manager. And on the field, a referee should avoid being overly demonstrative and authoritarian. Being humble but decisive; a good communicator but without tolerating dissent: these are traits that make a top referee.