Northern Ireland’s leading referees were given insights into refereeing on the world stage during their annual residential.
Among the guests at the event in the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle was Mike Mullarkey, the chief assistant referee coach for the Barclays Premier League.
Mullarkey, who was the assistant referee to Howard Webb in the 2010 World Cup Final in South Africa and part of Martin Atkinson’s team at Euro 2016, delivered the keynote speech at the three-day conference.
All referees, assistants and observers who operate in the Danske Bank Premiership were invited to attend lectures on teamwork, psychology, game management, dealing with pressure, post-match debriefs and laws of the game as well as technical topics.
The local referees were joined in Newcastle by officials from Saudi Arabia who also officiated at the NIFL Premier League game between Portadown and Crusaders. Their visit was a continuation of a successful refereeing exchange programme between Northern Ireland and Saudi Arabia.
Other speakers at the conference included Alastair Smyth, psychologist with PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited), the group which provides officials for all Barclays Premier League matches.
And referees from Wales and the Republic of Ireland also attended the event.
See video for an overview of the conference.