During this extended preseason period, focus has been on the extensive preparations by Match Officials towards making 2021 a successful season.
The physical and technical work they have undertaken has inevitably put them in a good place to produce consistent results once the season starts. However, one important group within the PRO support network has quietly been going about their preparation in a structured and professional way ahead of the beginning of the season – the Match Official Assessors.
Since 2018, PRO’s Head of Coaching, Education and Evaluation, Alan Black, has been working on a long-term project to build and develop a specialized, highly trained panel of Match Assessors, who have three main objectives:
- Provide game-by-game individual feedback to assist in the development of PRO Match Officials.
- Monitor officiating standards in the professional leagues PRO serves.
- Provide a range of information (from their observations) which contributes to further improvements in the education of Match Officials across those leagues.
“Over the past three years, the assessor panel has gone through an extensive rebuilding program. This is an aspect of officiating that traditionally people don’t talk much about,” Black explained.
“The 30 current assessors are experienced ex-officials from all over the world, and perform a vital role. Independent evaluation of Match Officials plays an important part in their development.”
Black is a former FIFA Referee and member of the UEFA Talents program before turning to assessing, after he retired from officiating. His experience has seen him assess across the world, and he is excited about the program PRO is building, going into 2021.
He added: “Assessors work on their development daily, weekly, and monthly in both structured sessions and through one-to-one interaction. Their professional attitude to improvement and their desire to give something back to the game is, at times, extremely satisfying to see, and to work with.
“Match Officials are extremely fortunate to have these individuals working with, and for, them, all in the name of driving up standards further. Their preparation for the season has been very good, and they are ready to get going.”
PRO General Manager Howard Webb paid tribute to the group of assessors on the PRO panel, and acknowledged the important role they play.
“PRO assessors are required to dedicate significant time and commitment to their ongoing professional development and growth, in order to remain fully up-to-speed on all aspects of officiating in the modern game,” he said.
“By doing so, they are able to share their knowledge and understanding, combined with their personal experiences, to provide relevant feedback to officials on a game-by-game basis to enhance future performances.
“By having a trained assessor allocated to every game, we are able as an organization to gain a thorough overview of performance standards, while also creating a library of best practices and areas identified for improvement, which we can use as the basis for educational sessions.
“We value the work of our assessor group greatly and appreciate the commitment they continually show to the improvement of others, and the enhancement of the game.”