MAN OF THE MATCH – FYODOR ZAMMIT

Date of Birth: 8th July, 1985

Location: Birżebbuga

Star Sign: Cancer

Media-related occupation: Referee

After a short career playing football with his home town club, Birżebbuga Windmills, Fyodor started refereeing. His debut was in 2000 at fourteen years of age. He controlled his first Premier League match in season 2011, and from there onwards he never looked back. So far, Fyodor has controlled 90 Premier league matches and even made it to the FIFA list in 2016.

Amongst the international matches, he controlled Europa League group matches, Under 21 international matches and Youths Champions League matches.

Fyodor Zammit captured by Joe Borg

What had prompted you to take refereeing and develop it further?

I’ve always had a passion for football. My cousin Ingmar Spiteri, an ex-FIFA Assistant Referee, intrigued me to get into refereeing. I very soon felt that I could make some progress as a referee, but I didn’t realistically believe I could reach this level.

You made your debut in Malta’s top division in 2011. You’re also a UEFA Category 3 Referee and was listed on the FIFA list earlier this year (2016). How are you managing your training as of late?

Since refereeing is time-consuming, one has to change his lifestyle to be able to manage. I train on a daily basis during the week and physically and mentally prepare for the appointed matches during the weekend. Being on the FIFA list means that you have more responsibilities both in local football and international matches. I’ve been entrusted with international appointments in some fantastic places, doing something that I love.

Training is a vital factor in refereeing, and one has to find time and follow coach instructions to perform the training sessions required. I’m not only a referee during the 90 minutes of the match; I’m a referee 24/7.

What other main interests do you pursue in your free time?

Refereeing requires lots of dedication and sacrifices, and to be honest, I don’t have much free time. One of the hardest things is to maintain the balance. As a referee, I have to remember that without the support of my family, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve my ambitions. So when I do get some time off, I always spend some quality time with my wife and son who support me and make sacrifices on my behalf.

family-zammit

If you had to meet any other referee, who would it be and what would you talk about?

I’ve learnt a lot from past and present local referees, but it’s no secret that in Malta we also follow Italian and English championships which produce a lot of good refs as well. I had met Howard Webb a couple of times, but never had the opportunity to have a long conversation with him. I’d ask him how he handles the pressure on and off the pitch. That’s a key factor that distinguishes the the cream of the crop.

What’s your general perception of local football?

Attitude. We need to push for a more professional approach from our younger generations. Our athletes need to understand that in order to enhance our local football, we need to make sacrifices, even if it means going abroad. It’s not easy, but what is in life? It’s important to eliminate our small island mentality and start working hard to pursue our dreams by believing more in ourselves.