Referees from 38 handball federations gathered in Vienna in May 2022 for the first EHF Convention for Heads of Refereeing to be held since 2005.
The meeting saw plenty of discussion and the exchange of ideas and knowledge among referees, sharing best practices, new developments and the varying situations for referees across the continent.
“It was truly productive for all of us,” said George Bebetsos, coordinator of the EHF Referee Programme.
“One major result was that we wanted to know how we can help the Heads of Refereeing all over Europe. The situation in countries is different, but we got many responses to our question of what they want from us.”
Topics on the packed agenda included a keynote speech from EHF Head of Competitions Markus Glaser on what the European Handball Federation expects from the national Heads of Refereeing. Per Morten Södal, the new Chairman of the IHF Playing Rules and Referee Commission, presented updates to the IHF Rules of the Game.
Bebetsos praised the excellent cooperation between the IHF and EHF in terms of refereeing, also shown in some decisions taken at the convention. The IHF and EHF will use the same technology to support the decisions of referees and delegates, for example video replay.
The IHF will also integrate mental training for referees in their preparation for major events, which has been used by the EHF for a long time.
Also focusing on referee preparation, EHF Technical Refereeing Committee (TRC) Chairman Dragan Nachevski spoke about how the EHF will get their referees ready for the Women’s EHF EURO 2022 and what the EHF expects from national federations in terms of support.
Several presentations focused on the use of technology, which was also a major topic of conversation among participants later.
Earlier, EHF TRC members Oyvind Togstad (Norway) and Jutta Ehrmann-Wolf (Germany) presented the status of refereeing inside a national federation, with different topics. Ehrmann-Wolf, for instance, spoke about the programme for top women referees in Germany.
“The Convention was perfect for an exchange and to get new ideas for your daily work as Heads of Refereeing in a national federation. It is elementary to have these meetings on a regular basis to learn from the best practice examples from different countries,” Ehrmann-Wolf said.
Finally, match fixing was the subject of a presentation by Andrew Whittingham from EHF partner Sportradar. He spoke about how matches can be fixed, how those matches can be detected by Sportradar, and how referees can prevent such situations.
EHF EURO delegates and referees seminar
Ahead of the Women's EHF EURO 2022 in Slovenia, Montenegro and North Macedonia, the European Handball Federation held a kick-off seminar for referees and delegates in August in Vienna, Austria.
The 12 referee pairs and 12 delegates who officiated the Women's EHF EURO 2022 in November gathered to discuss a variety of topics with 13 EHF experts.
During their three days in Vienna, attendees covered topics such as integrity, tactical perspectives, coping with big refereeing decisions, recent changes to the IHF Rules of the Game and the importance of proper nutrition and hydration.
Online sessions on conditioning, sports psychology and nutrition have followed in the build-up to the championship as part of further preparations before the referees and delegates arrived on-site in the three host countries.