Over many years and many international tournaments, the Homeless World Cup has gathered a dedicated group of international referees. Every year, they volunteer their time and skills to whistle with passion. Some are professional FIFA referees in their own countries, while others officiate as street football referees for various events.
Inspired by the work that Surprise Strassenfussball – Homeless World Cup National Partner in Switzerland – had done to train their players to become referees for local events, the Homeless World Cup Foundation aimed at delivering a similar course at an international level. Paul Nagtegaal, who is based in the Netherlands and part of our core team of international referees, developed a curriculum for international street football referees. The result is a course to train local referees and former players from all of our partner organisations to become official Homeless World Cup Referees.
The course is aimed at former players from our worldwide partner organisations as well as local referees in countries hosting the Homeless World Cup tournament.
Many players who take part in one of our national partners’ programmes want to stay involved with street soccer, especially after having played at the Homeless World Cup annual tournament. One of the possibilities is for them to train as a Homeless World Cup official referee and whistle at one of our events.
Many of our partners on the ground use local referees at their own tournaments. They can come from professional leagues, clubs or neighbour countries. We want to train all referees to the same standard and become international Homeless World Cup referees.
The course is divided into two parts: theory and practice. The theory takes place in a classroom set-up and includes:
The practice component takes place on the pitch. Participants get to take part in games and refereeing situations where they can visualise and understand what they have learnt in the classroom.
Finally, participants are given the chance to referee at a real tournament.
At the end of the course, students are handed their official Homeless World Cup International Refereeing Programme Certificates.
With over 500 players from more than 50 countries at this year’s Homeless World Cup in Oslo, the need for referees was greater than ever.
Three new referees joined the team this year following referee courses taking place in Newport, Wales, and Sofia, Bulgaria. Welsh duo Craig Denner and Natalie Handley, alongside Bulgaria’s Stefan Slatev, were the latest recruits to the team of referees.
While each one of them got a chance to officiate a different tournaments through their local programmes, being a referee at the Homeless World Cup would represented one of their greatest challenges yet.
You can read their full story here.