The Referee Abroad Academy


Preparing the next generation
of refereeing excellence

Table of Contents

The Referee Abroad Academy (RAA) is heading for its fifth edition in 2023 and is remaining committed to its aim of preparing the next generation of refereeing excellence by identifying and developing young high-potential referees and assistant referees from across Europe.

The RAA programme marks the focus point of Referee Abroad’s development efforts and started in 2017. After two seasons subsequently held at the Paris World Games 2017 and 2018, the RAA has been successfully moved to the Donosti Cup held in San Sebastián, Spain, in the second week of July.

Each year, 16 match officials – twelve referees and four specialised assistant referees – are selected to join the RAA. Usually aged between 18 and 25 years, they are mostly officiating in advanced (youth) leagues in their respective national association and join the RAA to receive valuable impulses by international referee coaches.

“Our mission is to support and qualify aspiring referees and assistant referees in managing the crucial steps to their national associations’ top leagues by providing them with valuable advice in a unique learning environment. Moreover, we are committed to preparing these high potentials for the chances, challenges and spirit of international refereeing by carefully trickling down modern refereeing standards and requirements while respecting the referees’ individual learning background.”, RAA Director Niclas Erdmann says.

“Our vision is to add an essential part to the next generation of European top refereeing. If our referees and assistant referees advance to higher national leagues or even programmes like UEFA CORE in future – and maybe even thanks to the advice and learnings they have taken from the RAA – then our vision is met.”, he adds.

For this, the RAA combines a unique physical learning environment at the tournament including post-match-analyses and technical sessions with remote development opportunities such as video-based learning, personality profiling and 360°-feedback.


What the
Referees Abroad Academy

Refereeing at an
International Tournament

Donosti Cup 2023

Participating in an international youth tournament marks the core of the RAA concept: The 12 referees and 4 assistant referees selected for the 2023 edition of the RAA will attend the Donosti Cup in San Sebastián, Spain (4 to 9 July 2023).

Separated into teams of four, all referees and assistant referees will officiate Under-16 and Under-18 games on a daily basis and encounter football teams from various countries. More information on the tournament can be found here

Learning by Observing

Video Recording

A main pillar of the RAA experience is the availability of video footage provided in the Post-Match-Analyses and Clip Reviews. This facilitates video-based self-analysis and learning from the other referees and assistant referees.
All matches overseen by our RAA officials are recorded and edited by our Video Analyst and provided for the analyses on the following day. After the tournament, the videos are shared with all referees and assistant referees.

Learning more about refereeing

Educational Sessions

Besides fully focussing on the performances shown during the tournament, the RAA also offers our participants general input on relevant officiating topics.

Our educational sessions offer new perspectives on different aspects of refereeing, such as: “Game Management”, “Personality”, “Psychological Effects in Refereeing”, “Assistant Refereeing Skills”, and “Teamwork”. Moreover, we make use of interactive methods such as live votings on match incidents.

Learning and practicing outside

Practical Sessions

In order to promote transfer from theory to practice, some elements of our educational programme take place in practical sessions on football fields.

This offers the referees and assistant referees the possibility of learning and testing what has been learnt in the most credible and relevant environment possible. Topics such as fitness, positioning and movement or cooperation in the team usually are focused in these sessions.


We bring toghether diverse set of skill
to solve problem

Niclas Erdmann

Accademy Director



David Coote

Lead Referee Coach

Fifa Referee


Sten Klaasen

Educational Advisor

Fifa Assistant Referee


Kristian Bakkelo

Video Analyst

Referee Coach



Reason to apply for
the RAA - your benefits
as a partecipant


We have created an all-inclusive package
to give you a unique experience



Accommodation in a student residence (double rooms with private bathrooms) is fully included in the price.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner options are provided by the tournament and free for all referees and assistant referees.

All match officials are provided with sports nutrition during the days.



Bus transfer from and to the airport closest to the tournament (Bilbao Airport) is organised and fully included.

Transfer to and from the stadiums is organised by a free access to rental cars for each respective referee team.

Referees and assistant referees cover their flight (or train) costs themselves.



The RAA is a non-profit-project organised by a group of committed volunteers.

In order to cover arising costs, a participation fee is charged from all referees and assistant referees.

Customer testimonials
on google

Chintushig Tumenbayar (Tuscig)
Chintushig Tumenbayar (Tuscig)
Such a great experience!
Einari Sario
Einari Sario
Amazing. Would recommend to any referee
Attended several tournaments as an observer. Very competitive games where officials can learn and improve. Recommended.
Laxmi Shrestha
Laxmi Shrestha
It was great experience doing referring. Referees from different countries shares their culture, experience and friendship. One of best platform for everyone to learn and explore their skills on the field. I made many new friends and I enjoyed the moment. See you all in next tournaments.
I went with refereeabroad too Bethesda Premier Cup, it was a great experience and Dan took really good care of us referees. Would recommend to all referees to go to one of the tournaments if you are able too. Besides that some really good observers was there helping us to improve.
Falar dos torneios que participei é falar de Daniel, um amigo de longa data, competente, companheiro um excelente profissional, possibilitando a pessoas comuns uma experiência fantástica, que enriquece o acervo cultural, técnico, emocional e pessoal transformando o homem em um árbitro de ⚽️.
giovanni Janssen
giovanni Janssen
Geweldige ervaring om mee te maken, met een super organisatie en geweldige toernooien! Een aanrader voor als je in het buitenland wilt fluiten met andere internationale scheidsrechters!