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First Official Beach Volleyball Referee Course

At the Bettystown Blast last weekend the competitors were able to sit back, relax and focus solely on their playing thanks to the VLY’s first official beach volleyball referee course. The course formed part of the Education & Training summer programme and is a sign of commitment to increase the standard of beach volleyball competition here in Ireland.

Seven referees from around the country were selected to take part on this course. Declan Ryan, Grainne Culliton, Osama Edghim, Julio Rico, Louis Wildenboer, Anna Ryan, and Dave Dalton. The referees in addition to their practical sessions, joined with Aurelien Gimenez (assistant instructor) and Geir Dahle (lead instructor) through a series of zoom sessions on week 33 and 34 to fine tune their knowledge and understanding of the game.

On Day 1 Saturday, the referees took control of the 4v4 mixed event. Managing just one court they adapted a rotational system of first referee, second referee and line judge to fully appreciate the officiating experience in all roles. A full day of practical under glorious sunshine followed by a two-hour theory session back at the beach hotel allowed the referees to be fully ready for the 3-star event the following day.

On Day 2 the referees took control of both main courts for women and men. They were supported by the impeccable refereeing of Isabel Pla Diaz-Marta and Evrim Genc Oguz on outside courts 1 and 2. Once again a rotational system was adapted, but this time ensured referees focused purely on first and second refereeing only this day.

The 3 Star competition drew to a close late Sunday evening as did the first beach referee course. Aurelien Gimenez, Ireland beach referee and assistant instructor for the course had this to say “

“I really enjoyed being part of the referee’s course as both assistant instructor and a referee. Having worked with Geir Dahle previously at the 2019 Olympic qualifier, it was a privilege to have such a high level instructor coming back to Ireland, helping to build our base of beach referees and from whom we could learn a lot. The training and guidance provided has enabled us to have more qualified referees who officiated the full 3 star competition (28 games), which I think was the first time on a national tour. From here we will continue working with those and new referees to ensure the highest quality is being provided for our future beach tour. “


The referees will now take their place on the newly created beach referee pathway, which is aimed to support the development of beach referees in Ireland. Conor Flood, VLY member of the Education and Training commission highlighted “Over the summer we have seen more and more volleyballers taking to the beaches to play. Supporting the sport by providing quality education and training for officials to develop is a key strategic goal. This will in turn lead to a higher standard of beach volleyball within the country. I would like to sincerely thank Geir Dahle for mentorship with our referees, while also congratulating all referees on the weekend”