Petrovich Represents Australia at Blind Football World Grand Prix

Former FFV Referee takes on International Football

Sebastian Petrovich was an FFV referee as well as a player in the NPL and State League competitions, but is now a referee who has been lucky enough to enhance his skills through amazing international experience. Petrovich was invited by the Japan Blind Football Association (JBFA) to be a match official at the Blind Football World Grand Prix (WGP) just last March.

The referee from Victoria described the experience as ‘a great privilege and an amazing honour’ as he became the first referee from Australia to referee at an International Blind Football tournament.

Petrovich has been involved in blind soccer for the past nine years and it is something that he has a real passion for. He was one of the first to promote blind football in the community. Previously being a full time carer, he has the experience and desire to guide people in the right direction.

With just six international referees being invited to the event in Japan, Petrovich’s achievement is something to be admired.

This competition was held and governed by the JBFA and the International Blind Sport Federation (IBSA) to create more awareness of blind football in the international community.

The WGP consists of two categories; one for the elite and high competitive countries, with the other being for countries that are still developing their blind football programs. Six countries from the top 16 ranked countries in the IBSA Football Committee compete in the elite category, while four countries ranked below the top 16 compete in the development category.

To put the sport into perspective, the tournament is played on a five-a-side synthetic futsal pitch, that is then divided into thirds. The coach inhabits the middle third, giving instructions. The other two thirds consist of a guide who taps on the posts/crossbars and gives instructions. The goalkeeper does not need to be blind or vision impaired as they also give instructions to teammates in order to successfully defend.

There are two referees on each side who officiate the match, two referees help the teams get themselves organised with uniform checks and substitutions etc. There is one responsible for recording scores and stats and one more who is the time keeper.

Petrovich was lucky enough to have been involved in all facets of refereeing during the tournament but was asked to be the main referee during Japan vs India.

His venture to Japan allowed him to gain invaluable experience in understanding the game, interacting with players, as well as learning from some of the most experienced referees in the sport. The main highlight being watching Mariano Travaglino, who is arguably the best referee in Blind Football.

The way he controls the game served as a learning curve for Petrovich as he will implement what he learned off Travaglino into his own refereeing game. Another highlight was watching the Japanese National Team prepare for their games, which included watching them train and limber up for their matches ahead.

Football Federation Victoria would like to congratulate Sebastian on his remarkable achievement and experience in Japan. We look forward to having him with us in the Blind Football Program in Victoria in 2018.

The Melbourne Blind Football Club is holding a Come and Try Registration Day on Saturday 22nd April from 12:30pm-3:30pm. See here for details!

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