A new format was a complete success: the referee commission of the International Fistball Association held its second International Referee Congress. All international referees in the sport of fistball were invited. The main topics were the evaluation of the events in 2023, experience reports, votes on the interpretation of the rules and the exchange of ideas. 

“We see the congress as the most important management and educational measure for the best fistball referees worldwide,” said Gastão Englert, Chairman of the IFA Referees Commission, who presented the strategic plan at the congress. “We see this as an interaction between referees, rules, competitions, training and the regulations.” With this in mind, objectives and indicators were defined to ensure that these were achieved. For 2023, these included the established congress, which takes place every six months and is expected to attract over 90% of referees in future. Changes to the rules and regulations are also to be discussed by the end of October each year and then published at the turn of the year. Improvements in the nomination of referees and the infrastructure provided are also part of this strategy.

In the evaluation of 2023, Englert also discussed the use of two referees at the Men’s World Championship in Mannheim and the World Tour Final in Curitiba, as well as the rule adjustments tested at the World Tour Final. In addition, a new game report was used for the first time in Curitiba. Englert: “In Curitiba we tested the “captain on the court” all the time. The result was excellent, cause it was easier to identify independently of the place/position the captain was and make it clear the team representative by the refereeing all the time.”

The two German referees Nicole Heldmaier and Markus Löwe presented the participating referees with experience reports from matches in their careers at national and international events.

“We see the many positive aspects of the exchange at the congress,” said Gastão Englert. Two referee congresses are planned for 2024. “We also see participation as an obligation to meet the requirements as an international referee. The further development of referees is one of the most important topics for us.”

The International Fistball Association currently has 65 referees from 9 countries. The Referee Commission is chaired by Gastão Englert (Brazil) and includes Marcel Meier (Switzerland) and Eric Kindler (USA).