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Refs ‘blown’

Randy Bennett

Refs ‘blown’

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REFEREES IN the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s (BABA) competitions have been given a failing grade.
And to add insult to injury, at least one veteran coach believes that the much publicized brawl between Premier League sides Cougars and Warriors, the worst in the sport’s history, was a direct result of poor officiating.
But vice-president of the Barbados Basketball Officials Association (BARBOA), Richard Wharton, a FIBA-accredited referee, has defended his colleagues, noting that players and coaches blamed officials whenever calls didn’t go their way or when they were on losing sides.
In an interview with WEEKENDSPORT, Frederick Bynoe, coach of the Warrior’s team, who saw six of his players receiving suspensions after the April 14 incident, inclusive of two life bans, insisted that the officials failed to properly control the temperature of the game, allowing emotions to boil over.
“The referees let the game get out of control,” Bynoe charged. “They were warned about the aggressive play between Godfrey Leacock [Cougars] and Kareem Farrell [Warriors] and they refused to pay any attention to the situation.
“The brawl started with those two players, and had the referees diffused the situation, things wouldn’t have escalated to the point that they did.”
Bynoe maintained that much needed to be done to improve the standard of refereeing, especially at a time when interest in basketball was at an all-time low.
“The refereeing is very, very poor right now. They are not consistent at all,” he said.
“They need more training because they are not officiating like they know what is going on. I don’t know if it’s that they don’t know the rules, or if it is that they just don’t know how to interpret those rules when they get on the court.”
BABA president Derrick Garrett is also dissatisfied with the officiating standards, saying the current level was not “what I would like it to be”.
Garrett said that he was not totally happy, and that he planned to have a meeting with BARBOA president Mark Harding as soon as he returned from overseas.
“There are some things which I am seeing which I am not impressed with, but this more relates to the professionalism of the referees more so than in their actual officiating.
“I can’t see what a referee sees, so I’m not going to go as far as to say that they are making bad calls, but in terms of their attitudes, and them getting to games on time and being consistent with certain rules, I don’t think we are where we should be.”
He pointed out that there were only between ten and 12 referees officiating in four leagues, and this was causing a serious strain.
Clapham Bulls’ head coach Barry Rock also agreed that the level of officiating needed to improve drastically.
“For years now, the officiating in basketball has been awful,” Rock said.
BARBOA’s Wharton contended, however, that no matter how well referees officiated a game, at the end of the night, fingers would still be pointed at them.
He said people first had to pass through physical training, along with book and court work, before being allowed to referee games.
This, he added, could take upwards of a month, and judging by the person’s development and maturity, they would then be given the opportunity to referee in the schools’ and third divisions.
Only the most senior and experienced referees were allowed to officiate games in the Premier League division, he said.
“Right now, we have five FIBA certified referees in Barbados, two [whom] are not practising and the other three being Shakira Shorey, Renee Batson and Gillian Martindale.
“With the limited resources that we have, I would say that the referees aren’t doing a bad job. To be honest, I would admit that there are some [who] are not cutting the grade, but things are not as bad as people are making them out to be,” Wharton stressed.