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FIFA: Head off ref crisis

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

FIFA: Head off ref crisis

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Football officials in CONCACAF?have been warned that unless they put in the work and make some changes the Caribbean will face a referees’ crisis.
The dire warning came from FIFA instructor Peter Prendergast, as he addressed the opening of a FIFA Futuro III referee’ programme for referee assessors and fitness instructors at Infinity on the Beach, St Lawrence.
“This is our opportunity to make a change by looking into the mirror and delivering. If we do not get the work done, sooner or later the Caribbean will face a referees’ crisis,” he said.
Earlier, head of refereeing for the Caribbean Confederation, Alfredo Whittaker, lamented that too often participants attended courses but failed to continue their work after they returned home.
“We see the results when those officials take part in international matches and their performance is not the best, which brings embarrassment to the region,” said Whittaker.
Prendergast said many countries could feel a sense of pride if one of their referees was selected to officiate at the World Cup.
“It is easier for a referee to go to the World Cup finals than a team. We all want our respective national teams to get to the World Cup finals but failing that we still obtain a high degree of pride in being represented by one of our officials,” he said.
Close to 40 officials from Grenada, The Bahamas, St Vincent, Grenada, St Kitts, Turks & Caicos and Barbados are taking part in the course which will run until next Tuesday. The participants from Barbados are Mark “Bob” Forde, Beverley Grant, Barney Callender, Andrew Belgrave, Desmond Edwards, Sherlock Wall, Azard Weekes and Patrina “Pixie” Brathwaite.
BFA president Randy Harris expressed the hope that the course would help Barbados to produce at least one student to participate in the 2018 World Cup in Qatar.
“For too long, referees and their assistants, on whom we depend to enforce discipline, protection of players and to follow correct interpretation of the laws of the game, were treated more of an after-thought in the general scheme of football organisation in this region,” he said.
“I now exhort my fellow colleagues in administration to include referees in the foundation of their planning to ensure that their overall development of the game becomes complete.” (KB)