Sunday, 9 November 2014, SHAH ALAM- The Gemilang Project (Excelent project) Referees Development Programme was a programme that was initiated by HRH Prince Abdullah Shah, the President of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to help boost the quality of referees in Malaysia was officially launched this afternoon at the Grand Bluewave Hotel. The three day programme is the first of a series of courses that will be hosted by FAM for top Referees in Malaysia to increase the quality of Malaysian referees. These programmes will be conducted by various FIFA Instructors.
It is hoped thatthe additional supervision by David Roland Elleray will strengthen the existing programme, thus having an overall positive effect on the quality of referees that are being produced by FAM.
According to HRH Prince Abdullah, it is his hope that this programme will produce Malaysian referees who are of world-class standards, and would be able to participate in the upcoming 2018 /2022 World Cup. Under this programme, a semi-professional structure (like those in the United Kingdom) will be established by 2016, making it possible for referees to focus on refereeing as a career prospect.
HRH Prince Abdullah also mentioned that upon the running of the People’s Football League (Liga Bolasepak Rakyat), there will be a need for more coaches as well as referees for the local football arena. “We need to increase the quality of referee’s year by year, the 2018 and 2022 World Cup is the target” he said.
During his speech, HRH Prince Abdullah also took the opportunity to remind referees that FAM would not compromise with individuals who got involved with bookies, as the target for the association is to produce quality referees of international standards.
“External sources of change can sometimes be easier to implement. I have found that the referees – both senior and juniors are both open to moving forward and also eager to learn. So with the stronger structure which is being implemented, refereeing will go forward with the political and financial support of FAM” said David Elleray. He also said that these programmes for referees that has been initiated by FAM will raise the group standards of Malaysian referees, which would then benefit Malaysian football as a whole.
Upon the conclusion of the course, a confidential report by David Elleray on the performance of the referees during the three day course will be presented to HRH Prince Abdullah.
The Referee Department at FAM has introduced both short term and long term plans for the development of local referees. Short term plans which are currently in execution include:
- Restructuring the governance and management of the Referees Department at FAM
- Executing a minimum of 16 Referees Development Programmes a year
- Introduction of the Merit and Demerit System
- Off-field technology – Video Analysis Team
- Elite referee programme – Restructuring the Referees Category
- Introduction of the Additional Referee System
- Fitness check for referees every 6 weeks
Long term plans which are being implemented include:
- Excellent Project I (Projek Gemilang I) -2014 – 2018
- Excellent Project II (Projek Gemilang II) -2014 – 2022
- Talent Scouting Programmes -Young Referees Academy (Age 15- 20 years)
N.B - Prince Abdullah has shown a profound interest in the development of Malaysian referees, and it is under his leadership that FAM initiated the introduction of the Additional Assistant Referees (AAR) in the Malaysia league.