GB Referee appointed to Youth Olympics in Singapore

Brian McDougall at the CEV Women’s European Championships Finals in PolandBrian McDougall took a small step closer to fulfilling his dream of being selected for London 2012, when he was appointed by FIVB to referee at the Inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore from 17th – 27th August 2010.

This is Brian’s 4th FIVB event, the first two being at the 1st round of the World Championships in Sheffield in Jan 2005 and Jan 2009, and the third being the Mediterranean Games in Italy last July; however this is the 1st neutral appointment of a GB referee to a major world event outside Europe.

Our International referees normally receive their appointments in Europe from the European Referees Commission (ERC) of CEV, but this nomination is a major step forward and a clear intent by FIVB to assist in getting the GB referees to a level where they may be considered for selection for London 2012.

In May of last year at the International referees’ seminar, the ERC had a meeting with 3 GB International referees –Brian, John Swan, & Grant MacIntyre- and established a training program to help raise their refereeing profile within Europe. This was the catalyst for the French offer where all 3 of them refereed in the French professional league during this season, under the mentorship of Patrick Rachard of the ERC, and they have also received matches in the European League, Small Nations, and Junior European Championships.

Brian was also appointed to the Women’s European Championships finals in Poland in September, where he had the opportunity to referee with some of the best referees in Europe, and was fortunate to witness Poland playing in front of crowds of 13,500.

This marks a milestone in Brian’s refereeing career as he received notification of the nomination on the 17th March – exactly 25 years to the day from when he completed his Grade 4 referees course back in 1985. John & Grant will also reach their 25th years as referees this year.

Brian at the FIVB Mediterranean Games in ItalyBrian would like to thank all the staff at the SVA & BVF for their continued support, Sandy Steel & the Referees Commission for his guidance through the years, Jan Rek & the ERC for instigating the training program, and Patrick Rachard & the French Volleyball Federation for their hospitallity and advice during the last 6 months.

The biggest thank you of course must go to Brian’s wife and 2 sons who have always supported him throughout his playing, coaching and refereeing days. Without their ongoing support and sacrifice, none of this would have been possible. Brian has in the past missed his son’s birthday whilst on refereeing duties and only last year missed his 23rd wedding anniversary whilst in Italy for the Mediterranean games. He will also have to split his summer fortnights holiday to allow him the time off he needs to travel to Singapore.

In January last year he also had to leave his family on New Years day to travel to Sheffield -to join other members of the British Volleyball fraternity – for the FIVB World Championships-1st round, however it now appears to have been worth it as FIVB has repaid that commitment by his 2 subsequent appointments.

Brian said “I am obviously thrilled and excited to be going but also feel very proud and honoured to be selected for this event as there will only be a limited number of referees from Europe chosen. It will be a great opportunity to whistle with referees from other continents and it will be a great learning experience. The standard of play will obviously be very high with only the best team from each continental championship qualifying. The fact that it is an Olympic Games is the icing on the cake for me. With just over 2 years to go to, this is a much needed step towards gaining the necessary experience to be considered for selection at London 2012. Although there are no guarantees for 2012, this type of exposure will certainly help me gain an insight into the operations of an Olympic event, and every match at this level is a small step closer to realising my dream”

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