Football match officials under the aegis of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Referees Association will resume their services to national competitions, community leagues and schools’ and college competitions, but with police protection.
That was the interim measure decided upon by the Referees Association and executive members of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation(SVGFF) last Monday, October 9, 2023.
The meeting, convened at the secretariat of the SVGFF, sought to address the increased incidence of violent acts towards match officials. As such, the meeting agreed to provide two police officers at matches where members of the SVG Referees Association are officiating.
That interim measure has been welcomed by President of the Referees Association Elron Lewis.
According to Lewis, “In the interim, the Football Federation will communicate with leagues, schools’ tournaments and college tournaments and the protocol is that it is compulsory that two police officers be present at all matches, with one stationed in the Technical Area for the referees’ security”.
In addition to this measure, Lewis revealed that a committee will be formed to frame policies with the main aim of protecting referees from abusive players, as well as team officials.
The SVG Referees Association took a stance on Thursday, October 5 to withdraw their services.
The withdrawal came following a violent attack on a referee, during an Under-17 match between Largo Height and Layou at the Campden Park Playing Field, also on Thursday.
As a consequence, the Secondary Schools Football Competition which was set to open on Sunday, October 8, had to be postponed.
Likewise, the Breakaway Masters Competition was also forced to defer their matches last weekend, because of the referees’ decision.