Elite Referee/Assessor Course opens in Florida
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Participants in CONCACAF's Elite Referee & Assessor Course take a group photo on September 18, 2014, in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo: Hector Torres)

SUNRISE, Florida – CONCACAF Vice President Alfredo Hawit launched the confederation’s Elite Referee and Assessor Course on Thursday during a ceremony that also honored those match officials who worked at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The annual gathering is comprised of 11 referees, 17 assistant referees, 25 referee assessors and seven instructors.

In his opening remarks, Hawit, who is also the Vice Chair of CONCACAF’s Referee Committee, said: “For me to talk about refereeing, it is not only familiar, it is part of my life athletically speaking.  I have an affinity for this sector that is refereeing because at my beginnings as a national and international leader, I took on this challenge in the refereeing corner that allowed me to know more than just about the purely sporting structure.  I have thoroughly known the referee as a person who is essential in this profession.”

Topics to be addressed on the four-day agenda include a comprehensive review of the World Cup, fitness, match analysis, plus integrity and diversity.

To start each day, the participants will go through the paces of practical field sessions, before taking part in classroom-setting instruction that concentrates on the technical aspects of refereeing.

"I concur with the thoughts of our President, Jeffrey Webb, and our (General) Secretary, Enrique Sanz, who wish to provide personal attention to the referees in the pursuit of development and excellence for each country, as well as to our confederation,” expressed Hawit, a former professional footballer in Honduras with Universidad and Olimpia.  “This can only be achieved based on effort, hard work every day and, I assure you, that we will achieve together.”

The program, scheduled to conclude Sunday, is being led by FIFA instructors Esse Baharmast, Peter Prendergast, Rodolfo Sibrian and Hector Vergara.  Erick Samayoa and Allan Brown -- FIFA Referee Fitness Instructors for the CONCACAF region – are directing all conditioning aspects, while CONCACAF Deputy General Secretary Ted Howard, a member of the FIFA Referees Committee, and CONCACAF consultant Brian Hall are also sharing their expertise.

Carlos Batres and Alfredo Whittaker, heads for refereeing for the by the Central American Football Union (UNCAF) and the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), respectively, are special invited guests.