European Fencing Confederation (EFC) has begun a series of seminars aimed to prepare new referees for the upcoming season.
The continental body says the "Get Ready for the New Season" seminar programme is aiming to assist newly appointed category C sabre referees.
EFC secretary general Jacek Slupski and vice-president Nikolay Mateev are leading the sessions, which have both theory and practical elements.
EFC Referees Commission members Vasil Milenchev and Vladislav Shamis are supporting the programme, with both serving as current international referees.
Participants must complete a theoretical quiz before discussing videos of action from recent international tournaments, including the World Championships in Budapest.
Slupski said the seminars highlight the organisation’s efforts to use the coronavirus enforced shutdown of competition productively, with the events also aimed at helping attendees prepare for International Fencing Federation (FIE) exams.
"Our general intention is to raise the level of refereeing in sabre in Europe and to prepare EFC referees for the FIE examination,” Slupski said.
"During the first seminar EFC referees were given practical examples of how to behave in difficult situations during major international competitions such as European and World Championships.
"Substantial support was guaranteed by two of the best referees in sabre, Vasil and Vladislav.
"After the first session, I am convinced that such initiatives will positively influence skill development in sabre."
The first session was held virtually yesterday.
The programme is expected to continue over the coming weeks as the EFC prepares for the new season.
Mateev hopes the initiative can help to boost the level of refereeing in Europe, which will in turn aid competitions.
"Our joint goal with the support of National Federations is to increase the level of European refereeing, improve the organisation of both Junior and Senior World Cups and put forward the best qualified European referees for the FIE exams," he said.
"It was a promising start and I look forward to continued success.
"Particular thanks goes to Vasil and Vladislav for volunteering their time."