Gibraltar FA's Referee Exchange with the Maltese FA Proves a Great Success

This weekend saw the first ever referee exchange programme that Gibraltar's referees have been involved in. A refereeing team from Gibraltar composed of Jason Barcelo, Yaro Borg, Herbert Warwick and Juan Jose Villada travelled to Malta to officiate in Maltese domestic fixtures, and in exchange, a team from Malta took charge of Gibraltarian Domestic league games.

These Referee Exchanges are a vital part of the long term development and improvement of our referees, exposing them to football in different countries, different cultures, different players and styles. The Gibraltar FA's Senior Referee Manager, Adrian Bacarisa, is delighted at the outcome of the weekends exchange, and is currently working on continuing these with a similar project already lined up with the Andorran FA: 

Work on planning this Referee Exchange Programme with Malta FA started a few months ago. It is a programme that is encouraged by UEFA giving opportunities to match officials to travel abroad and referee players from a different culture. In these referee exchanges match officials take the opportunity to learn how people live in that particular country and benefit from sharing experiences with other match officials and building up on friendships. It greatly helps them in their development.

In this exchange with Malta our own match officials got the opportunity to referee two matches in the Malta FA Premier and 1st Division. Likewise Malta FA match officials refereed two matches in the GFA First Division (Premier). Matches went well for the refereeing teams in the matches in both countries with favourable comments received on performances.

We are now planning on the next Referee Exchange with Andorra FA due to take place in the New Year,

Naturally the referees who travelled to Malta were delighted with their overall experience:


Jason Barcelo

The Maltese FA proved to be a very good hosts. Their RLO who also turned out to be our observer in our two matches made as feel very welcome. We quickly built up a fantastic rapport. We were treated very professionally, accommodation and meals were excellent. Learning their culture was also interesting and hearing so many familiar surnames was welcoming. On the sporting side we enjoyed both matches. I assisted Yaro Borg as his 4th Official in the Saturday game and I refereed the Sunday match . The teams in both matches were very well disciplined respecting our decisions at all times. It was great to recieve very good feedback from the Maltese Referee Observer in both our matches.

Yaro Borg

The Malta Referee Exchange Programme was a worthwhile experience as it both improved our refereeing standard and widened our knowledge about football in other European countries. It also showed that Gibraltar football standards are not different to any other small European country, such as Malta. The opportunity to be observed by a top UEFA observer with tremendous knowledge about the game (Mr Charles Agius) was also beneficial as he highlighted some of our weakness and areas to be improved (nothing new that hadn’t been highlighted in the past by our local observers). Overall a great experience that I would recommend to any other colleagues from the Gibraltar Referees’ Association to attend when the opportunity arises.

Herbert Warwick

It was an extremely enjoyable weekend. We were treated very professionally. What struck me was that there is a very low crime rate in Malta yet police were very visible at matches. For our trip to and from the football matches we were escorted by police. Something that does not happen in Gibraltar. I had the opportunity to learn from the Maltese culture and associating it with our own. The Malta RLO/Referee Observer Mr Aguis proved to be a great host. The matches went well for us. Players readily accepted decisions. Both matches were sportingly contested. I am grateful for having lived this opportunity.

Juan Jose Villada

It has been an incredible experience. A different way of living and breathing football. Our host of the Malta FA Mr Aguis made us feel at home and gave us good feedback after our matches. I am thankful to my Referee Instructors for having been selected to take part in this Referee Exchange Programme.





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