Scotland’s three International referees – Grant MacIntyre, Brian McDougall and John Swan – have been invited by the French Volleyball Federation (FFVB) to referee in the Ligue Nationale de Volley this coming season. The European Referees Commission recently started a training programme for all GB International referees in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics in London and Mr Patrick Rachard, Chairman of the Referees Commission in France, stepped forward to offer additional assistance to the GB referees. Mr Rachard will observe all three referees when they are in France and will be a valuable mentor having being involved in previous Olympic Games himself. Grant MacIntyre will travel to Beauvais, Canteleu and Cambrai, Brian McDougall is off to Paris twice and also to La Rochelle whilst John Swan will be in Paris twice and also in Chaumont.
Sandy Steel, Chair of the Referees Commission, SVA and President of the Rules of the Game Commission, FIVB commented “For a long time, the International Referees from Scotland have plied their trade in domestic and European competitions. I have long felt that they could stand comparison with other colleagues around the world, now they have the chance to prove it and perhaps reach the pinnacle of the sport – the Olympic Games. What a wonderful gesture from the French Federation to allow our referees the opportunity to gain that extra special experience and to be mentored by experienced observers. Personally I am hugely grateful to the FFVB and in particular to Patrick Rachard. I am sure that I also speak for the referees and for the Scottish Volleyball Association, the ‘Auld Alliance’ lives on.”
Brian McDougall said “This is an extremely generous offer from the CEV and the French Volleyball Federation, and a fantastic opportunity for Grant, John and I to obtain regular top quality matches to referee. The level of support being shown by the whole of the French volleyball community is overwhelming, and to have Patrick Rachard as our supervisor in France will be fantastic. As a current ERC member and ex-Olympic referee, Patrick will be able to pass on a wealth of personal experience that will give us the best possible opportunity to prepare for the years running up to 2012. It’s an exciting time ahead for Scottish referees in Europe and I can’t wait to get started.”
John Swan added “The pinnacle of any volleyball referee’s career would be to referee at the Olympic Games. I am extremely grateful to the CEV European Referees Commission, the French Volleyball Federation and the SVA for the opportunity to officiate in the French Volleyball Leagues this season. I am certain that the high standard of games involved, along with the mentoring and assessment process offered by Patrick Rachard, will greatly benefit me in my quest for Olympic selection.”
Grant MacIntyre said “As Sandy and John have mentioned, for International referees the Olympic Games are the pinnacle of our sport. I am honoured to even be considered for such a prestigious event and I am delighted that the European Referees Commission are supporting the GB referees. The offer from the French Federation to referee in their national leagues is unbelievable and I don’t think we will ever be able to thank them, and Patrick Rachard in particular, enough. It just goes to show that volleyball – which we all know is the greatest sport in the world – is one, big, happy family…”
The final word went to Margaret Ann Fleming: “As the CEO of the Scottish Volleyball Association and a lifelong supporter of our sport, I would just like to express my delight and joy with these appointments throughout this coming season for our Senior International referees. These appointments clearly add status for Scotland throughout Europe. The SVA would like to congratulate all who have been selected by CEV and wish them the best of luck representing Scotland and GB within the French leagues.”
Photographs © Lynne Marshall