Referee assessor, Denmore Roberts, has encouraged organisers of the various community football leagues to “get serious” and employ the services of qualified referees for the duration of their competitions.
The former referee turn FIFA Caribbean assessor and trainer, said the quality of most leagues are compromised by what is known as “pick-up” referees where, in most cases, former players and even spectators are asked to either officiate or act as assistant referees.
“I am told that we have village leagues that have just two referees and that they are not taking the whole aspect of the officiating seriously. They have said they don’t have any money and they just put two people on the lines to stand up but the football is not going to improve that way. We have to understand that the football is only going to improve if the officiating is excellent,” he said.
Roberts, also a cricket commentator, hit back against claims that referees charge exuberant amounts for the community leagues, costs which are out of the reach of most organisers.
“When you charge $25 for 90 minutes then I don’t know if that is charge (money), and that’s the kind of money referees charge in a village league, just enough for you to get there, for the gas. Instead of coming with the idea that the referees are just going to want money, speak to the referees committee, speak to the referees association, to Rally James [Rolston James] or Audwin Walsh and negotiate so that all of our leagues can have good officiating,” he said.
A number of community leagues, to include the Grays Green Football League and the Fort Road Community Football League are currently ongoing.