Sri Lanka Basketball Referees, the 360-degree view

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Just as a Police force executes law and order in a nation, in a sport, referees execute the rules that govern it. How does it happen in the local basketball arena? This week on Swishing the Nets – Basketball in 05 mins, we take a deeper look into the Sri Lanka Basketball Referees Association (SLBRA) with the secretary of the Association Thusitha Yatigamanna.

Q: Tell us a bit about the Sri Lanka Basketball Referees Association?

Currently at the SLBRA, we have 02 FIBA active referees for the 5on5 format and 02 for the 3×3 format as well. Apart from the 4 FIBA active referees, we have 1 FIBA active commissioner. There are about 8-10 FIBA non-active referees because FIBA decreased the number of slots a certain country could hold. In total we have around 28 referees in the association who are involved across both formats of the game.

Q: Plans to increase the number of referees in the association?

We have started two processes to increase the number. Firstly, we have reached out to all media outlets and started an advertising campaign inviting personnel from around the country to apply. Secondly, through the Sri Lanka Basketball Federation (SLBF), we have invited all the district associations to select members and connect them with the SLBRA.

We are on the look-out preferably for juniors, who have played basketball, but there are no restrictions.   

Q: What work is being done to improve the standard of refereeing in the country?

Prior to any tournament, we always have a meeting with the appointed referees for that specific tournament. Specially for the top tier club tournaments. We educate them on how to run the tournament and how to sustain the standards of it.

Once the tournament is over, we have a discussion and evaluate all the refereeing decisions to analyze and improve the officiating standards. Apart from the pre- and post-tournament discussions, we have a monthly meeting, where the seniors will pick junior referees and help them elevate themselves to the next level.

Q: How are junior referees educated on the job and assessed?

The normal process is, the committee picks a group of competent people to represent the world stage. So, when FIBA advertises clinics or workshops we pick through the committee, then process through the SLBF and send a group for participation.

For the 5on5 format, every two years there is an online exam which is conducted by FIBA. The next block is in 2019. Apart from that, they appoint us for matches, clinics and various other activities they organize. On the 3×3 format, also FIBA follows the same process and from our end too, we follow the same process.   

Q: Future of the SLBRA?

The long due grading of referees will be taking place on the 25th August. We are planning to have a qualifying system for our local referees every two years. We will grade them from FIBA, National, Level 01 and 02. That way, we will know where our refereeing standards are, which will provide us an easy system to elevate them to the next level.

The second project will be the initiation of a provincial program. Through the district associations under SLBF, we will be building referees in each province. Not all the personnel can travel out of Colombo and vice versa. So, with this model, all around the island we will have officials who will execute the rules that govern the sport.