12th April 2022
They’re the hardworking, tireless, talented individuals our amazing sport of handball simply couldn’t do without.
Patient, calm, knowledgeable and strict, they rule the roost on courts the length and breadth of the country, allowing handball players senior and junior to enjoy and flourish in a safe, fair environment.
This month, we pay tribute to England Handball referees, who traverse the country every week without complaint to sports halls, arenas and leisure centres.
On Friday, we published our interview with Nick Le-Mon, one of the country’s top officials.
He spoke about how he juggles refereeing with his job preventing financial crime, handball trips around the world - and how he’d happily officiate for free.
Today, our series celebrating England Handball’s referees continues, as we make two exciting announcements. Firstly, we have launched our brand new L2 Referee Award - an advanced course aimed at increasing the standard of refereeing in England.
Secondly, we have also released our brand-new EHA Refereeing Plan, hoped to support the development of the sport by providing a fully-qualified body of officials.
The new L2 Referee Award
This brand-new course contains six online, self-paced modules that are easy to navigate at the user’s own speed.
The course will allow graduates to referee at junior, RDL, club, university and National Handball League level.
It’s been developed alongside highly qualified referees to make sure the course provides each learner with the desired outcomes, with modules ranging from the most basic rules to pre-match protocol, progressive punishment and in-game communication methods.
Ricardo Vasconcelos, National Coaching and Workforce Development Manager at England Handball, said: “This month, we pay tribute to England Handball’s referees - the backbone of our game, who work so, so hard to make it what it is.
“As a key part of this, today, we are delighted to launch our brand new L2 Referee Award.
“The recruitment, development, and support of referees new and existing is highly important to us, and we’ve made the decision to invest in them more as they are a crucial part of our sport’s ecosystem. Without them, we don’t have a sport.
“This award will allow us to create more learning opportunities - and continue to increase the standard of refereeing in England.”
The L2 Referee Award aims to give its users the knowledge and skills to referee in higher competitive leagues within England, as well as improve their own performance and ability to reflect on their own and others’ performances too.
It provides referees with an in-depth understanding of the rules of the game and how to manage different situations - as well as more consistency with decision making and application.
The course costs £50 per learner - but our special offer means the first 10 sign-ups will receive an early bird discount of 50%.
The EHA Refereeing Plan
Secondly, and separate to our new L2 Referee Award, England Handball has also released its new EHA Refereeing Plan.
The plan is aimed at establishing and implementing a realistic pathway to support the development of handball by building a highly competent, fully qualified body of referees.
The new strategy covers all handball games in England from the age of U16 and up - offering coverage for lower age groups.
It has been published online here, and identifies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the England Handball refereeing structure.
It’s hoped to attract, develop, and retain referees while providing a positive and pleasurable experience for officials.
The strategy hopes to:
Part of the strategy sets out how alongside today’s Level 2 announcement, a Level 3 course will also be developed.
That’s in addition to conducting a regular review of pay, configuring a mentorship structure for those training the referees, and developing a community that is proud to “want to improve and develop”.
Additionally, further objectives include creating a Referee Development Group responsible for regularly reviewing and updating the strategy, increasing international opportunities such as officials attending foreign summer tournaments, and launching new exchanges with other handball federations.
Ricardo added: “This is a hugely exciting time for everyone in the England Handball structure, and we’re bringing our referees along with us on that journey.
“As the sport gets bigger and more popular, it’s absolutely essential that we can complement our high-flying clubs with qualified referees.
“The new strategy will make our refereeing body more modern and fit for purpose, and alongside the launch of L2, demonstrates that we are committed to further developing this vital part of our sport.”