This year the first women’s-only international fistball referee course was held in the Pan-American region by PAFA president and member of the IFA Referee Commission Gastão Englert. The program started with virtual sessions in April 2022 and now the first participants finished the practical evaluation. The objective is to provide a professional fistball referee course only for women which is based on theoretical training, as learning process, as well as on a practical formal evaluation. “The most important part of this course is the practical evaluation, so the referees have to show their skills on the field. We want to have highly qualified international referees and therefore it’s important to establish this two-stage education program.”, is Englert emphasizing the value of the practical part.

New female international referees from Brazil and Chile
With Mariana Scherer Eltz (Brazil) and Florencia Schwaner (Chile) the program is finishing this year with two women being approved as International Fistball Referee. “I am very happy that both candidates finished the practical evaluation with over 90 %. Mariana and Florencia are now part of the International Fistball Referee crew and willing for future challengers.”, says head of the referee course Gastão Englert. “In 2023 the program will surely continue and there are already more women interested to get the evaluation for International referee.” The main objective for this first phase is: The next 2023 women’s-only international referee course in Europe and Pan-America and for the Women’s World Championship 2024 IFA is looking to have only women as first and second referees in the competition.

To get to know the first ever female International Fistball Referees from Pan-American we provide a short portrait of them.

Mariana Scherer Eltz (19)

Sociedade Ginástica Novo Hamburgo, Brazil

What was your motivation to become an international referee?
My motivation to become an international referee is to participate in high level Fistball events all around the world. I want to improve my referee skills and also, to be able to meet new people while being involved in something that I really love is an amazing opportunity. And of course it’s very important to have more woman acting as Fistball referees, that was one of my biggest thoughts while doing the course.

What is the biggest difference between being on the fistball court as a player and as referee?
Both parts, players and referees have equally importance to guarantee a good match. I think the only difference is that when I am playing, I have to be committed only to my teammates and coaches. When being on court as a referee, I need to be committed to all people involved: both teams, the spectators, and of course the others referees and linesmen. So I’d say that the overall responsibility as referee is much higher.

Florencia Schwaner (19)
Club Manquehue, Chile

What was your motivation to become an international referee?
So honestly my biggest motivation was to keep on being able to be part of the world-wide fistball community despite the fact that I’m not playing tournaments anymore because of my university obligations. I also wanted to be part of more female representation and equality in our sport. I think it is important to include women in every aspect.

What is the biggest difference between being on the fistball court as a player and as referee?

I think one of the main differences between being a player and a referee is how you approach the game. So for example, as a player the game is much more of an emotional roller-coaster and you stay concentrated in how you and your team is playing and what you need to do to improve in order to win. Meanwhile being a referee you got to stay calm and be really focused to see every detail there could be. It’s very different on the emotional aspect of the game.

How to get involved yourself?
First of all everyone can become an International Fistball Referee. If you are interested to be part of the next Women’s-Only International Referee Course (WOIRC) here are some important prerequisites, that applicants should fulfill: highest national fistball referee level in your country and knowledge of the English language. The whole process of evaluation and communication will be held in English. In 2023 we’ll have the second “season” of the WOIRC. It would be a pleasure for the IFA Referee Commission to have more women interested in being part of the International Referee crew.

Gastão Englert

Our goal?
In the WWC in 2024 to have only women as main referees. Let’s fight together! For further information please contact head of the program Gastão Englert:
More details about this course will be published soon