19 Jul 2017

RLEF Education has completed its first-ever Level 2 match official course, hosted by the Serbian Rugby League Federation in Belgrade, as part of the EU-backed Training and Education Portal project.

“Belgrade was the ideal location to launch the new Level 2 course,” said overseeing RLEF tutor, Phil Smith. “It was great to see the participants up-skill their education as well as officiate on the many matches that were played in tandem.”

SRLF Level 1 MO educator Radoslav Novakovic helped Smith and RLEF match official manager Tom Mather deliver the course, which was attended by Jean Pierre Zarb of Malta, Adrian Seglem from Norway, Zsolt Lukacs and Balint Mezes from Hungary and three Serbian level 2 candidates. Russian educator Andrey Zhukov also attended, outside the framework of the TEP.

“We saw a number of developing officials who, with action plans and a few more games under their belts, will be excellent and more than capable of climbing the match officials ladder,” said Mather. “The course was an eye opener for a number of the match officials, who dealt well with a new level of complexity and temperatures of 38 degrees!”

In addition to Zhukov and Novakovic, two of the local officials completed all the tasks and will now need to complete a series of continuing professional developments tasks before receiving their level 2 qualification.

Zarb said: “The course was very interesting and productive, especially the experience side of it for me, as well as having the chance to speak to so many other rugby league nations face to face.”

“I learned a lot of new things, improved on what I already knew and even got feedback from how I did officiating in games,” said Seglem. “This experience helps raise the level in Norway and assists in us introducing stricter rules into our competition.”

The TEP is a three-year, €723.000 investment into capacity building through good governance and technical training, funded by €466.000 from the EU’s Erasmus+ project and the remainder from the RLIF and five of its full members. It is intended to build the knowledge and skills of the RLEF’s 21 European members, divided into six regional clusters, through high quality training and mentoring, while granting opportunities to share experiences amongst fellow Europeans dedicated to rugby league development.

Pictured: Malta's Jean Pierre Zarb tackles a challenge.