THERE is no guarantee that the quality of football referees in the country would rise with the setting up of the Professional Match Officials Malaysia (PMOM), says former FIFA referee Ahmad Khalidi Supian.
Instead, it would depend on the referees’ own integrity, said the 58-year-old, who has more than 20 years’ experience after starting his career as a national referee in 1986.
He said that an authoritative referee was someone who has extensive knowledge and full understanding of the laws of the game as well as an optimum level of physical fitness.
“The PMOM is just a platform to enhance the standard of refereeing in the country, but the real effort comes from the referees themselves. If they want to be successful, they (the local referees) must improve and be highly disciplined.
“They must have in-depth knowledge of the rules of the game, so that anything to do with the game is at their fingertips. It’s the same with physical fitness... it is an important element which every referee must possess,” he said.
Ahmad Khalidi, who officiated at the 2002 pre-World Cup star-studded match between South Korea and England, stressed that English proficiency would also increase referees’ credibility, especially if they wanted to go far at the international level.
According to Ahmad Khalidi, who has been serving as FIFA’s fitness instructor since 2009, English is the main language used in official situations and a failure to master the language will have a negative effect on their career development.
“Any referee who intends to officiate at the international level, must be able to speak and write in English because all matters and reports are in English,” he explained.
The Malaysian Football League (MFL) and the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) agreed last month to set up the PMOM, an independent body aimed at raising the standard of refereeing in the Malaysia League (M-League).
It is also hoped that the privatisation of the referees’ services, based on the module used in England through their Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL), would lead to the production of high-quality local match officials.
Ahmad Khalidi said that for PMOM to achieve its goals, the independent body would need to have a solid syllabus and wide range of experienced instructors.
“It (PMOM) is a platform to raise the quality of refereeing towards professionalism.
“I see PMOM as not only being able to improve the quality of refereeing in the country but also to take local referees to a higher level.
“PMOM must also have a vision to produce referees with the quality to reach international-level, like Subkhiddin (Mohd Salleh), who has officiated at the World Cup. Now, he is among the best FIFA technical instructors and has been involved in several editions of the World Cup,” he said.
Ahmad Khalidi hoped the efforts put in by MFL and FAM would produce positive results in the country’s football revolution and not turn out to be another half-hearted effort.
“To raise the standard of refereeing in Malaysia is a noble intention but let’s do this the right way until the objectives are reached,” he said. — Bernama
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