The Asian Football Development Project (AFDP), a football and development non-profit organization headed by HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, has lent its support to a group of talented female referees from West Asia to participate in a refereeing course sponsored by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
In coordination with the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), 8 female referees and assistant referees were selected to join UEFA's Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE) program in Nyon, Switzerland. The referees represented Iran (Shiva Yari), Lebanon (Hoda El Awaidi), Jordan (Esra´a Almbaidin) and assistant referees from Iran (Masoumeh Shakouri, Samaneh Mohsenikiasari), Jordan (Heba Abed) and Palestine (We´am M.A Radayda).
The CORE program covered theoretical, on-field practical and fitness training under the supervision of former FIFA referees Wendy Toms and Claudine Brohet, and FIFA assistant referees Maria Luisa Villa Guitierrez and Leif Lindberg. They discussed clips and regulations and listened to presentations given by UEFA Referee Committee Members David Elleray and Dagmar Damkova. On-field exercises included problem solving techniques focusing on teamwork, positioning, personality, Laws of the Game, and disciplinary control.
"This is a fantastic opportunity from UEFA for women from the region to gain top level training, I hope it will help them improve the quality of refereeing and women's football in general back in their countries. Wishing them all the best of luck," Prince Ali said.
Huda Al Awadi from Lebanon stressed the importance of such exchanges for the development of women's refereeing, "I have learned a lot from a European point of view which is quite different, I'm very thankful to AFDP, WAFF and UEFA for this challenging but extremely beneficial learning experience," she said.
"The course assisted me with pinpointing my strengths and weaknesses," said We´am Radayda, Assistant Referee from Palestine. "It was thorough and extremely professional, I can't wait to share what I've learned with my colleagues in Palestine," she added.
Jordanian Assistant Referee Heba Abed commended the encouraging approach of the instructors at CORE. "The instructors made sure we felt supported and empowered throughout the course, they created a positive environment for us to improve our skills and techniques not just in football refereeing but also fitness and language," she said.