Cook Islands Football Association (CIFA) places high importance on developing world-class match officials and in 2008 referee development received a huge boost thanks to a brand new FIFA-funded Refereeing Assistance Programme (RAP) from Oceania Football Confederation (OFC).

The CIFA referee’s department is staffed by Referee Development Officer Lai Gukisuva, Referee Instructors Maara Kaukura and Robert Savage and Fitness Trainer Mike Mouauri.

The referee department has four objectives.  Firstly it aims to raise the standards of behaviour and performance.  Secondly, identify potential referees and assistant referees for higher level competition.

Thirdly to recruit and retain referees and finally to train and educate through courses provided and the assistance of the referee department.

The referee department aims to improve the quality and quantity of referee education. Practically, this has resulted in several new courses being held in the years which target the wide spectrum of match officials – from elite to community referees, from five-a-side to 11-a-sidesoccer referees.

The courses, organised for men and women, feature the latest teaching resources and up-to-date equipment. CIFA’s Technical Department works closely with the referee department’s team to organise the education programme.

Proof that the initiatives are working can be seen in the increased level of representation for Oceania at international tournaments.

Referee’s that have been appointed to the FIFA Referees List throughout the years as International Referee, International Assistant Referee, International Women Referee, International Women Assistant Referee and International Futsal Referee and have had the opportunity of officiating the FIFA and OFC Tournaments.