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17 March 2020 | in Other Events

IFSO making rapid strides for sports officials

Football Referees

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The one-year-old International Federation for Sports Officials (IFSO) made important progress during its second General Assembly held on Friday, 13 March. Formed in March 2019, the IFSO’s main objective is to be a platform for knowledge sharing and best practices in sports officiating.


FISU Secretary General-CEO Eric Saintrond with IFSO President Patrick Vajda

“Going ahead, we aim to bring more members into the fold,” said FISU Secretary General-CEO Eric Saintrond, who is a Member of the Board of IFSO. "This includes National Olympic Committees (NOCs), International Federations (IFs), major event organisers and referees’ associations.”


‘Onside’, one of the most important projects undertaken by IFSO was presented by IFSO Vice President Janie Frampton and Treasurer Jan Vlablom.  


“Onside is about innovative education to enhance the skills of sport officials in Europe,” said Frampton. “It is a three-year project funded by the European Union through the Erasmus+ Sport programme and its aim is to define the skills and competences of sport officials across different sports. Another important aim is to increase the visibility and recognition of sport officiating.”


The IFSO Onside project already has important partners like European Athletics and European Handball Federation, among other sports federations. Students of the AISTS sports management master’s programme are also working on a project for IFSO, to create a benchmark document regarding selection criteria of sports officials by International Sports Federations.


IFSO Vice President Gwenda Stevens. Picture courtesy: IFSOImportant steps are also being undertaken by the Women’s Commission, as presented by Vice President Gwenda Stevens, to encourage more female officials.


“We need to show women they are perfectly capable of refereeing by highlighting the top female officials,” said Stevens. “We want to provide advisors at club level, who can respond to the queries of women who are considering refereeing.”


FISU is one of the 20 founding members of IFSO, along with five National Olympic Committees and other International Federations such as the World Rafting Federation (WRF) and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).


“The key aim of sports officiating is to enable athletes to compete within the spirit of the sport, in keeping with the ethics of sport,” added Eric Saintrond.


“The IFSO is not a professional association for referees, umpires and judges. It is a platform for education and improvement for these professionals who are such a crucial part of the sports world.”

Football Ref