Partille Cup – a referee’s paradise

Without referees there will be no matches and the opportunities at Partille Cup are great for those who make sure everything goes right out on the fields.
“This is close to being a referee’s paradise”, says Kolja Scepanik, the tournament’s project manager with responsibility for the referees.

In fact, it is even the case that the number of applicants to be a referee exceeds what is possible to accept.
“Several hundred more applied than we could accept”, says Scepanik.
However, something that he would like to see more of in the future is the number of Swedish referees who choose to be part of the Partille Cup.
“I wish we had more people from Sweden. Referees from abroad are willing to travel to Partille Cup from far away countries, pretty much at their own expense and they enjoy it a lot here”.

Scepanik develops his thoughts.
“I think that for most referees from other parts of the world, they want to have such a tournament that we can offer here. There’s such a large diversity, with so many teams, so many different cultures and so many impressions to experience. There’s also the quality of the matches which increases especially when we reach the knock-out phase of the tournament where the stronger teams merge and come closer as they advance and come closer to the finals. I guess that these matches are rare if you take a look at other tournaments, then you might find two or three strong teams but here that’s common”.

One who has made the trip to Gothenburg is the Spanish-born referee, now living in France, Juan Dominguez. His view reflects the one of the project manager.
“It has been a fantastic experience”, he states.
“This is my first time here and my expectations were quite high because I had been talking to some of my colleagues who had already participated in the tournament. The level is so high and you get to learn a lot within the five days of the tournament. You get to think a lot about how you referee, how you see things and how you position yourself. It’s an enriching experience”.
Refereeing along with a new partner, Dominguez also sees as a great advantage and a possibility to grow.
“The fact that I have been refereeing with a more experienced referee from Germany, with a different vision of handball has been great. German handball is way harder than for instance French and Spanish handball so I’ve got to learn a lot from him and that’s amazing!”

As Dominguez mentions, there is also a diversity among the referees when it comes to how much they have been in similar situations before. Scepanik explains:
“We have a very large variety of referees. There’s a bunch of EHF referees that are known to international matches and we also have beginners who are just 14 years old, so they have maybe only refereed once or twice on home team practice. We also need to accommodate those referees here”.

The fact that Partille Cup is an experience worth remembering back to is something Dominguez emphasises, and he aims to return in a year.
“Next year I’ll probably be coming with some of my colleagues. This year I am the only one referee representing the French federation and I hope that we’ll be some more next time”.

Erik Malmqvist