The United States Muaythai Federation in cooperation with IFMA and WMC Thailand hosted a 3-day online Referee and Judge Seminar from the 4th to the 6th of September to cover both the amateur and professional rule sets.
Around 50 people from the US participated in the event from the safety of their own homes during the Covid Pandemic which has placed many restrictions on public gatherings. IFMA and WMC Thailand have begun organising online seminars through Zoom in line with the new normal approach to education in order to continue to push the sport forward during these difficult times.
The first day began with an opening speech from Stephan Fox who is the IFMA General Secretary, WMC Vice-President and also the President of the IOC recognised umbrella organisation AIMS. Mr Fox presented the development of IFMA over the last 25 years towards IOC recognition, the duties and responsibilities of all members to ensure Olympic values and how to protect the integrity of muaythai in which every family member needs to ensure good governance at all levels.
Following Stephan was Ajarn Somchai, the Head of Technical of IFMA who gave a detailed presentation of the rules and valuable information for IFMA competitions such as the weigh in procedure, how to score and how to be a good example on and off the field of play whilst ensuring the protection of the athletes is the centre of focus.
The second day was welcomed by the Head of IFMA European technical Gunter Plank and Top IFMA ITO Abby Nelson. The duo gave a detailed insight into the rules and regulations with an informative Q&A session where many nuances were discussed outside of the rule set. Also covered was the one standard policy to ensure that all referees and judges are of the same quality developing from national to continental then world and finally ITO for Olympic level events such as the World Games and so on. Abby also highlighted the fact that IFMA follows a strict gender policy and at the elite level this has now been reached stating that IFMA will continue to build ITO’s regardless of gender.
The third and final day was taken by Ajarn Thanong Poompanich who is the Vice chairman and Head Trainer at Lumpinee Stadium who covered the professional rule set. Ajarn Thanong is also one of the top officials for WMC Thailand and highlighted that muaythai is muaythai, the difference with the round robin formula is that the athletes have to fight many times in a 6 or 7 day competition therefore protection is key whereas in a professional fight you have a 30 day rest period between matches. The presentation was well received with many questions and great explanations from someone who is considered by many to be the most experienced referee in Thailand.
Stephan Fox closed the event highlighting at the end the importance of referees towards the safety of all athletes. IFMA’s strong stance against child fighting which is non negotiable was also covered and the safe development of youth fighting by IFMA with different age, rules, timing and so on.
Mr Fox on behalf of the President thanked USMF under the presidency of Michael Corley for all the fantastic work and development they have done over the last ten years and now working hand in hand to make muaythai one of the most outstanding sports in the upcoming World Games.
The seminar was well received by participants who provided great feedback stating that the information was delivered clearly and in bite size chunks.