By Neto Baptiste
Former referee and former president of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Referees Association (ABFRA), Ivor Davis, has been commended for his years of service to the sport here.
Veteran referee, Vanroy Burnes, during an interview on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, credited Davis with introducing the use of coloured uniforms by match officials here in Antigua.
“It was Ivor Davis in little Antigua that started the transition of moving away from black outfit for referees to coloured uniforms by the name of Ivor Davis because at one time, we used to play football in the hot sun and Ivor in his wisdom, and others like Franklyn and Arlington Success, realised the difficulty for someone to referee a game in hot sun at 1:00 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. in black,” he said.
Davis who served as president of the Referees Association for 31 unbroken years before voluntarily leaving the post, remembered how he got into officiating and the struggles he faced when trying to break the trend of referees officiating in only black attire.
“The referee law book; because we weren’t affiliated with FIFA and no bookshop sold them, I was lucky enough to get an old law book from a gentleman in Barbados who worked in Antigua at a factory, so I started studying it,” he said.
“When I introduced officiating in different colours the Football Association came down on me saying I couldn’t do that and I had to take the law book and point out to them that the law does not say a referee uniform is black; what it says is that any colour that does not conflict with the teams and so they [Football Association] eased off my back,” the former official added.
Davis also served as a FIFA referee assessor and has trained countless numbers of referees both here in Antigua and across the region.