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Monday 26 Feb 2018
Premier League ref Lee Probert is special guest at Co Down event

Northern Ireland’s top referees were put through their paces - and given plenty of advice and guidance - at a major conference at the weekend.

You can watch an extended interview about this event with former English Premier League referees Mark Clattenburg and Lee Probert by clicking the image at the top of this page. 

The annual Irish FA Premiership Referee, Assistant and Observer Conference, staged at the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle, ran over three days and covered changes to the game and injury prevention among other topics.

Observing referees and assistants in action during Danske Bank Premiership games on Saturday and then reviewing their performances, plus individual tests for referees and assistants, formed a core part of the three-day event.

Guest speaker was Lee Probert, who has been a referee in England’s Premier League for more than 10 years and has officiated 160 fixtures at the top level, including the 2014 FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Hull City.

In his main address to the conference he spoke about getting the basics right and in a separate session he looked at the subject of game empathy.

Among the other speakers was Mark Kernohan, who provides pastoral care and support to referees in the Danske Bank Premiership as part of the Sports Chaplaincy UK programme. Irish FA President David Martin opened the conference.

Former Premier League and FIFA referee Mark Clattenburg, who refereed the UEFA Euro 2016 Final and the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final and various other high profile games, was in attendance, too, at the event in Co Down along with guests from the FAI, Scottish FA, Saudi Arabia and the Premier League. 

Northern Ireland-based former refs and tutors/refs Leslie Irvine, David Malcolm, Rory McDonagh, Michael Ross and David Redfern also addressed the conference and led various breakout sessions.