ISF Elite Referees Group had some elite training this week, as Mark Clattenburg dropped into their zoom call.

Clattenburg – commonly regarded as the world’s best referee – has been a welcome presence at the last two world cups, in Crete and Lisbon, and was on hand when some of the best referees in 6 a side football got together.

Head of referees, Martin Cassidy said the call was a vital cog in their holistic approach to officiating: “The meeting is part of The ISF long term training and support plan for our referees. This will create a Global network of support,” he explained.  “We are also committed to delivering World Class training and support to all of our referees.”

It is stressed that these opportunities were not just open to the referees who make it to the world cup, as Martin added: “All our officials are part of the ISF family. In the near future, referees who support our members “home competitions” will be given the opportunity to receive training from some of the best referees in the World.”

As with everything right now, the group discussed the plans for the future and their collective eagerness to get out and blow the whistle again. In a post meeting chat Martin said: “All our Refs, just like players, are really missing our game. When we blow the whistle on our first game back it will be an emotional time for everyone involved and we must remember all those across the world who have been affected by COVID19.”

He continued: “The ISF and Leisure Leagues are developing training programs where our refs can access training 24/7. We are a World leading organisation and we must offer training and support that reflects that.

“The monthly meetings also offer opportunities to view incidences of best practice and more importantly, learn from what we can do better.”

ISF take all the worries of flights, food, accommodation, and kit away from the refs so they can fully concentrate on their own individual preparations. They can only do this because of the sponsors who, not only support the ISF, but support our refs. Leisure Leagues are the main sponsor and fundamental in the growth of the ISF however, through the power of our contacts we have some of the biggest sports brands in the World supporting our refs.

On these monthly meetings the plan is to invite coaches from different countries to discuss what they expect from referees and what referees expect from players and management, with Martin stating: “We believe there is lots we can learn from each other and this will be a great opportunity to do that.”

As previously announced, the Leisure Leagues powered ISF can also confirm that there will be another ex Premier League and FIFA international referee added to the ISF group. This will be the third ex Premier League Referee in three years to be introduced into the ISF family and evidences the global recognition of our organisation.