Neale Barry with FAW Referees Panel Vice-Chairman Cliff Evans
Last Sunday the Welsh Premier Referees, Assistant Referees and Referee Assessors gathered together at Newtown FC for their annual joint meeting where over 60 match officials were present.
It was also good to see FAW President Trefor Lloyd Hughes and Vice President David Griffiths in attendance for the whole day to support the training and education programme.
Before presenting his review of the year Referees’ Manager Rodger Gifford called upon FAW President Trefor Lloyd Hughes to present Huw Jones with a pennant on behalf of UEFA to mark his service as an International Referee which was followed by Referees’ Committee Vice Chairman presenting Huw with a “Welsh Cap” with his name on to mark the FAW’s appreciation of his international work.
Following a review of the year in terms of achievements the match officials were reminded of the need to supply the Welsh Premier Clubs with the best possible officiating. The League is getting stronger, the Clubs are moving on and with the financial rewards for qualifying for European competition it is essential that match officials also up their efforts to meet the challenges ahead.
FAW’s Head of Competitions Andrew Howard and Corbett’s Sports Welsh Premier League Secretary Gwyn Derfel both made short addresses to the gathering thanking the match officials for their cooperation throughout the season and covering administrative points before handing back to the Referees’ Manager to introduce the first of the day’s speakers who was Iwan Sion a Producer with Rondo Media who attends matches every weekend in his professional capacity. Whilst Iwan’s address was entitled “The View from Behind the Camera” he stressed these were his personal opinions and not that of Rondo itself. He showed five clips from last season which stimulated great debate amongst his audience and openly admitted at the end of the session that he now had a far better understanding of both the Laws of The Game and Referees’ problems.
The second speaker was Andrew Edwards, Chairman of Port Talbot Town, who gave a “straight from the heart” viewpoint on Welsh Premier refereeing which in the main was very complimentary but also raised issues with regard to the perception by clubs in relation to match officials before giving a fascinating insight into how a club like Port Talbot Town is run off the field and the costs involved to keep the club operating.
The final speaker, who did two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, was the FA’s Head of Senior Referee Development Neale Barry. Neale a former full time Referee in the FA Premier League took early retirement from his whistle to take up his role eight years ago which he describes as a “dream job”. His first presentation was on “Advantage and his second one was on “Judging Challenges” but in reality it was “did we see what really happened” Both sessions were stimulating and thought provoking giving the eight discussion groups plenty to discuss and feedback to the plenary session. Neale’s passion for coaching referees on the simple things shone through both presentations and everyone could only have learnt from his input.
It was another excellent day for Welsh refereeing...We have had some great feedback from the referees, who all went home having learnt
At the end of a highly successful day Vice Chairman Cliff Evans made presentations to the three main speakers Iwan, Andrew and Neale thanking them for contributing to what he felt was an excellent day before paying both personal thanks and the thanks of those present to Referees’ Manager Rodger Gifford for all the time and effort put into organising such a worthwhile day.
Head of Competitions Andrew Howard commented; "It was another excellent day for Welsh refereeing. The content was very varied as we kicked-off with Iwan who doesn't have a refereeing background or perspective, yet concluded with Neale Barry, whose life has been dedicated to refereeing, We have had some great feedback from the referees, who all went home having learnt."