January 31, 2014
FIFA official rules SVG referees’ programme off-side

FIFA referees instructor for the Caribbean – Jamaican Peter Pendergast, is once again not impressed with the overall organization of the referees’ programme here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

Pendergast made his assessment after conducting a five-day course and engaging 25 practising match officials.

Making a comparison to his last visit here in 2010, a frank Pendergast told SEARCHLIGHT last Sunday: “… Coming back here after almost four years, I am not at all happy about this … The levels have not improved in terms of ability to interpret or even know the laws of the game. The fitness has not improved …. From the fitness stand point, it is horrible… with less than 20 per cent passing the fitness test.”

Continuing his evaluation of the referees’ development, Pendergast added: “…What has changed is the age of the referees. We are seeing younger referees in the system who are seemingly far more interested. In terms of the organization, not much different…”

Pendergast also lashed out at the operations of the referees’ administrator, who has been installed by the executive of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation.

“…I have seen a name as an administrator, but when I ask about the function of that administrator and what has happened … There is no empirical evidence of what the administrator has done.”

The person who has the duty of referees’ administrator is Osborne Bowens, while Clemroy “Bert” Francois is the local referees’ assessor.

Pendergast, though, admitted that there are some structures, but their effectiveness is his major worry.

“What I have seen and heard as relates to training sessions and organized sessions, some of that has been happening… as to the quality of it, that needs to be improved,” he noted.

In looking for a change all-round, Pendergast said: “The organization of the refereeing is the responsibility of the member association and while the president (Venold Coombs – president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation) promised to have this fixed… I am hoping that my presence here will encourage the referees to do what is required to bring themselves up to the required standard.”

Reports are that Pendergast and fitness instructor Allan Brown were also peeved last Thursday as there were no medical personnel nor ambulance on hand, when the fitness test for the referees and their assistants was carried out.

Pendergast brought his wealth of experience to bear, having officiated in six consecutive CONCACAF Gold Cup Finals from 1996 to 2005.

He also officiated in the World Cup Finals in Korea/Japan in 2002.

The five-day course held at the media centre at the Arnos Vale Playing Field, saw the football match officials exposed to practical sessions, theoretical instructions and slide shows to aid them in acquiring a greater understanding of officiating.

St Vincent and the Grenadines was the first in the region for 2014, to get such a course, which is part of FIFA’s Referees Assistance Programme (RAP).(RT)