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Football Referees Train Online During COVID-19 Pandemic

NBCUniversal, Inc.

With the sports world having been put on hold for months because of COVID-19, the people responsible for officiating football games are now finding creative ways to be ready to referee once competition returns.

“We can’t wait until we hear yes or no,” said Dallas Football Officials Association Vice President Xavier Velazquez. “With all the restrictions we’ve had with meeting places and social distancing, we had to figure out a way to stay on top of the rules and to teach our officials.”

That way was through virtual training, with over 100 high school and college football referees “gathering” every Monday night to improve, learn and train during a time of year usually focused on that.

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“The spring is very important because everybody has their spring scrimmages,” Velazquez said. “That’s the time we get new officials more quality snaps. What do I mean by quality snaps? It gets you on the field with a veteran official who can better explain when, where and why we are doing what we are doing.”

And now, what they are doing is using virtual meetings to do the same type of training, even while the referee running the meetings — Velazquez – personally battled COVID-19.

“It completely put me down for three straight weeks,” Velazquez said. “And in the middle of this, we were doing our training. It was a struggle. But officiating is a passion we have. Through whatever we’re going through, we’re going to try make the best of anything we can to be a part of it.”

Including spending hours every week online improving on that passion, so they will be ready to ref when football potentially returns in the fall.

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