Four Lincolnshire referees travelled to the 2023 Iber Cup in Portugal last week, along with PGMOL Assistant Referee Rob Atkin and Lincolnshire FA Referee Development Manager Michael Brader.
The IberCup is currently one of the most important World Youth Football Tournaments in the world. Every year, between male and female categories, around 50,000 players participate in a super competitive week, with fantastic experiences and a unique opportunity to face teams from all continents.
Previous winners of the competition include Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid, Sevilla FC, Manchester City FC, Arsenal FC, Manchester United, Liverpool FC, Paris St Germain, and Bayern Munich.
Michael sent diary updates from the tournament, which can be read below:
Our referees had a great day yesterday and completed 5 games involving teams from Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and France who are professional academy teams with a high level of football, including clubs like Lyon and Benfica.
All our officials acquitted themselves well with some talking points for the feedback meeting we had last night. Former Premier League referee, Roger East, was on hand to offer advice for a couple of the games. They’re looking forward to the second day of games, to put the learning into practice!
Today was a long, hot day with the refereeing team completing 9 games. Today also saw a rare outing for the coaching team of Rob Atkin, Michael Brader, and Andy Farr – Chairman of the LFA Referee Committee! It allowed our referees a break for lunch on what turned out to be the most challenging game of the day. However, experience won through! It’s the knockout games tomorrow so time to rest the legs and prepare for the day ahead.
After four days of competition and 26 games under their belts, the Lincolnshire FA team of Referees arrived home in the early hours of Sunday morning from the Iber Cup Cascais tired but elated. The group games on Friday saw some keenly contested games including Flamenco of Brazil who dazzled with some typically silky skills. This contrasted with the fiercely physical encounters involving Dublin and Washington.
The final day on Saturday saw our Officials appointed to two Semi-Finals and two Finals. In keeping with the maturity displayed by them all week, the Coaches decided to allow them to decide the games between themselves on this occasion. Nick Elliott plumped for the Under 16 Boys Semi Final and Aimee for the U16 Girls Semi Final, which was impressively won by Sporting Lisbon, that left Laura as Assistant Referee on the Under 15 Final and Harry to Referee the Under 13 Final, both played at Estoril Stadium in front of over 3000 spectators and streamed live on Portuguese TV.
Summarising the week, Michael told us: “It was excellent to have a Lincolnshire FA team of Match Officials back at the Iber Cup for the first time since the pandemic. The four young Referees excelled both on and off the pitch and we could not be prouder of them. In temperatures reaching the high 70s they displayed great skill and superb fitness levels to safely deliver game after game. The support and guidance of Rob Atkin will have benefitted them all in their future Referee careers.”
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