TWENTY referees, including three FIFA referees, have completed the annual Referees Assistance Programme (RAP) held in Guyana from August 27 – 31.The programme, hosted at the National Stadium, Providence, saw both theory and practical sessions led by FIFA’s Technical Instructors, Javier Santos and Jeffrey Stolis, and Fitness Instructor, Alan Brown.According to Santos, three key areas were covered over the period, pointing out that “the first was the fitness condition of the referees; second was the technical knowledge and working in the classroom sessions with the technical instructors and the third area was the technical and practical training in the field of play.” “In the fitness condition aspect of the referees, a fitness test was done but two different types of tests were administered for the Referees and the Assistant Referees respectively. For the technical knowledge, video tests were done – evaluating handball decisions, tactical fouls and offside decisions and challenge, the most important thing in the field of play. The third aspect was done using players and the Referees and Assistants had to take the best decisions depending on the play,” Santos said.While noting that the referees were receptive to the information shared, looking ahead, Santos said the major challenge is the referees’ commitment to the task at hand. “They have to show that they are ready to officiate at the elite level matches regardless of whether if it’s just here in Guyana or internationally and this is not just for the FIFA referees. They have to show they are ready physically and technically, so they have to train continuously and keep working together with the support of the Referees Department and the GFF to enable them to be prepared and ready for matches in this part of the region,” Santos related.At the conclusion of the programme, a Certificate of Participation was given to each participant.The RAP is a capacity-building programme which seeks to create uniformity among elite referees and enable same to meet the demands of the game.