Leading European futsal referees have been in the Croatian coastal city of Split for the 8th UEFA Course for European International Futsal Referees. Over three days, 30 futsal referees from 25 European countries undertook various types of training sessions and tests, and took part in theoretical sessions. The course involved a balance between theoretical and practical work, and included an introduction to, and study of, recent changes to the futsal Laws of the Game.
The fitness test performed by the referees featured a 1,000-metre run, in addition to speed and agility tests. Fitness instructor Grzegorz Krzosek stressed the importance of the fitness tests. "Fitness is essential in refereeing, and we want to be sure that all of the referees are well prepared," he said. "There is also an additional aspect – body composition control – as we want to motivate the referees to have a good image and body as part of this sport." Krzosek, a former Polish middle-distance runner who has participated in world and European athletics championships, also highlighted other important qualities that futsal referees need to nurture. "In futsal, speed for referees is much more important than in [11-a-side] football," he explained. "There is less endurance, but more speed, with changes of direction and different types of movement."
Futsal referee instructor Pedro Galán Nieto told UEFA.com about the significance of the course. "We have 130 referees in Europe, and the 30 referees here were the only ones who have not attended at least one UEFA futsal course. Now we are closing the circle in giving the chance to all officials in Europe to attend at least UEFA course for international futsal referees." The futsal laws were a main focal point in Split. "We wanted to give the referees knowledge, and also bring about uniformity with respect to the Laws of the Game," said Galán Nieto. "[World body] FIFA amended certain laws in June – so we are trying to ensure that the referees in Europe have the same interpretation of the Laws of the Game." Galán Nieto also spoke of the main changes in futsal in the last decade. "Professionalism, for sure," he reflected. "In my time, these kinds of courses were impossible. Today, specifically as futsal instructors, we are able to give useful and worthwhile advice about the Laws of the Game to the new generations. Consequently we are very happy about UEFA's contribution in organising such events".