Local Football Referees get red carded
October 5, 2010
Local Football Referees get red carded

FIFA Referees Instructor Peter Prendergast is not impressed with the standard of local Football match officials.

Prendergast, a Jamaican, along with FIFA ‘s Referees Development Officer, Trinidadian Ramesh Ramdhan, conducted a five-day Referees Course here.{{more}} The course ended last Sunday with the Closing Ceremony at the Computec Conference Room.

Prendergast, in a candid interview with SEARCHLIGHT, said that he was not pleased with the current skill level of the referees and referees assistants who attended the course, which was part of the FIFA Referees Assistance Programme (RAP).

“I am not pleased, in fact, I think they have regressed from the last time I (was) here back in 2008,” Prendergast, who officiated in the World Cup Finals in Korea/Japan in 2002, said.

Prendergast is laying the blame at the feet of the Executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) and also the referees.

“There is no accountability, so people can do what they like, as the system is not demanding,” the FIFA Instructor lamented.

“They lack information and practice,” Prendergast, who officiated in six consecutive CONCACAF Gold Cup Finals from 1996 to 2005, stated.

Prendergast pointed out that the referees here can choose not to upgrade themselves, not attend training sessions, and still be called on to officiate in matches under the auspices of the SVGFF.

He is of the opinion that this loose arrangement allows the referees to be very complacent.

“People seem not interested and make themselves available, and the referees need to emancipate themselves,” Prendergast added.

The Jamaican though, is hopeful that with a new thrust, things will change, and that there will be a serious turn around in the attitude towards that vital part of the sport.

Also supporting Prendergast’s sentiments was FIFA’s local Referee Instructor, Clemroy “Bert” Francois.

Francois also called on the referees to get their act together.

Francois told SEARCHLIGHT that he, in his capacity, had organized a two-day a week session, following the last referees’ sessions held in 2008, however, this had to be discontinued because of lack of participation.

Francois said he will redouble his efforts and restart the weekly sessions, but is calling for the support of the Executive of the SVGFF, to make things happen.

Francois said the fact that local referees are paid to officiate in matches in the domestic competitions, without retooling, is part of the problem.

The current Executive of the SVGFF, as part of its Strategic Plan, has cited Refereeing as a critical part of its mandate to develop Football all round.

To this end, the SVGFF 2009 Coconut Bay Resolutions proposed to train a cadre of 200 referees, under its Intensification of the Technical Programmes. (RT)