The top referees in continental basketball gathered over the weekend in Ljubljana, Slovenia, for the 31st Clinic for Euroleague Basketball Officials.
Euroleague officials gather for preseason clinic
Some 70 referees – including four new referees – and 17 referee coaches attended the clinic. The annual preseason meeting is the ultimate primer for the referees in preparation for the 2022-23 season.
Over four action-packed days, the referees underwent preseason physicals and engaged in workshops, discussions and video reviews dealing with rules and the nuances of officiating games at the highest levels.
"This meeting follows our meetings with the head coaches from both of our competitions where we discussed how the game is evolving, and where we need to work in the coming season to ensure we can deliver the officiating that the clubs and fans deserve,” Richard Stokes, Euroleague Basketball’s Director of Officiating said.
Among the guest lecturers brought in to assist the referees in their preseason preparations were sports psychologist Mar Rovira, who led a mental skills development group; former EuroLeague head coach Neven Spahija, who lead an on-court session with players and discussed in-game communication; Gregory Rakas from Hawk-Eye regarding the replay system and Gianluca Mazzoncini on physical conditioning. The ABA League's president of the referees' commission Sasa Maricic and the commissioner for delegating referees Srdan Dozai, and the director of referees for Spain’s ACB, Jose Antonio Martin Bertran, were also in attendance.
"It also was great to have Neven Spahija with us to share his thoughts and observations and this can only improve our knowledge and understanding of what is expected of us," Stokes added. "We have another challenging season on the horizon with the best clubs in Europe across the EuroLeague and EuroCup and we must be ready to meet that challenge."
There were sessions and video reviews on many topics, including unsportsmanlike fouls, traveling calls, off-ball movement, post play, mechanics and new rules for the 2022-23 season, with former referee Todd Warnick on hand to lead several discussions.
"We think as fellow directors of referees, that all points of view from different competitions are important. We wanted to go to the clinic to experience it because we have some of our referees also in the Euroleague," Bertran said. "It was interesting to see that we coincided on many approaches.
"I think this kind of event is positive for everyone to learn, especially on a methodology level. Richard Stokes has been leading the referees’ department in the EuroLeague for some years now and he is close and transparent. I know him well and we have a good relationship. Being here has been useful to me to apply some things in the Spanish League. I want to thank the Euroleague for extending an invitation to us."
Sunday, the final day of the clinic, included sessions on the court at Arena Stozice, home of 7DAYS EuroCup side Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana. When the curtain closed on the weekend, the Euroleague Basketball Officials returned home better prepared to preside over what promises to be another exciting season in both the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and the EuroCup.