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Webb a graduate of UEFA's talents and mentor scheme

Wed 14th Jul 2010 | UEFA

It has been revealed that under fire FIFA World Cup final referee Howard Webb was among seven referees in South Africa who went through UEFA's talents and mentors scheme, a ten-year-old project with 156 alumni.

The Premier League ref has been part of a UEFA initiative which has matched young up-and-coming referees with experienced officials in the talents and mentors scheme, and the success of that project was clear at the FIFA World Cup.

38-year-old Webb, became the youngest referee to take charge of the showcase game in 72 years. The scheme has been a success with seven of the ten European referees in South Africa to have benefited from the talents and mentors scheme since its 2000 inception.

Josef Marko of the UEFA Referees Committee told UEFA.com: "The mentors work long term, one or two years with these young referees, not just by coming to their matches but keeping regular contact by email and by Skype. The referees send mentors their domestic matches on DVD and the mentors send them back their opinions.

"The national associations invite mentors to the [talent's] home country so they can see their talent at domestic level and the mentor speaks with members of their referees committee, sometimes even the referee's family. This is something special and if the referee is interested he can grow a lot thanks to such experiences."

Among the current crop of talents is Artyom Kuchin, who in May became the first referee from Kazakhstan. Kuchin is following in exalted footsteps from the last ten years, and Marko explained that as time has gone on, so the talents and mentors project has evolved. "At the beginning these mentors gave them advice, emphasised their positive points, tried to change their negative points," he said. "Now they have another role – they are role models. One year ago, [Swiss referee] Massimo Busacca visited as a lecturer, now we have assistants as well.

"Today it is not important who initiates a decision, the important thing is the right decision – it doesn't matter if it is the referee, assistant, fourth official or even additional assistant. I have been on the UEFA Referees Committee for 17 years and it is good to work with young referees. If they listen, I also learn from them."


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