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TTFA fingered for Pro League referees cock-up

Trinidad and Tobago Referees’ Committee chairman Brian Layne blamed an administrative error for a mix-up between the refereeing body and the Pro League, which left Trinidad and Tobago’s top flight competition without its best officials this weekend.

Zonal referees Roger Smith and Ishmael Muhammad officiated at yesterday’s Pro League double header in Macoya after the Pro League was informed on Thursday that no referees were available due to a FIFA-mandated fitness test, which was conducted this morning.

Photo: Veteran Central FC midfielder Marvin Oliver (left) gives referee Gyasi McDonald his yellow card back. McDonald was one of several top flight officials who were missing in action yesterday. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/ Wired868)
Photo: Veteran Central FC midfielder Marvin Oliver (left) gives referee Gyasi McDonald his yellow card back.
McDonald was one of several top flight officials who were missing in action yesterday.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/ Wired868)

Layne, who is also a Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) executive committee member, said the date for the FIFA test was fixed since early February and blamed general secretary Sheldon Phillips for the lapse in communication.

“What I guess went wrong is, when we made the decision, the general secretary was supposed to inform every one of the (fitness) test,” Layne told Wired868. “We couldn’t postpone this test because FIFA mandated we have four tests per year and we have already set the dates… We couldn’t afford to miss this test.”

Wired868 tried to contact Phillips for comment without success.

There were no Pro League games over the Carnival weekend but Layne claimed that referees could not have conducted their tests then since some officials played pan in Panorama.

He insisted that the disruption was a necessary evil to ensure the Pro League gets the best possible officiating.

“If you need to see the best in the referees you need the referees to be fit,” said Layne. “Some referees know the laws of the game very well but they don’t have the fitness level and that contributes to them making mistakes.”

Layne confirmed that there will be new faces with the whistle at Pro League level next week as some senior referees failed to pass the fitness test.

Photo: Referee Gordon Maloney (second from left) is supposedly one of the Pro League officials in danger of being replaced. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/ Wired868)
Photo: Referee Gordon Maloney (second from left) is supposedly one of the Pro League officials in danger of being replaced.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/ Wired868)

“Before, we used to compromise,” said Layne, “but, as chairman, I can say we are not compromising anymore.”

Layne refused to give any details on today’s fitness examinations before the TTFA dispatches an official release.

However, Wired868 understands that veteran referee Gordon Maloney and referee’s assistant Cindy Mohammed both failed and will be replaced at Pro League level.

Just last month, Mohammed had her status as a FIFA referee renewed while last year she was adjudged the Pro League’s assistant referee of the season. She has already officiated in two senior women’s World Cup and several other international tournaments.

Local referees’ department head, Ramesh Ramdhan, presented a FIFA badge to Mohammed, Neal Brizan, Caleb Wales, Cecile Hinds and Ainsley Rochard last month at the TTFA’s Hasely Crawford Stadium office.

“You as referees are in this position because of your hard work and willingness to learn and to carry out your duties in the right way,” Ramdhan, an ex-FIFA referee, told Mohammed and her colleagues. “But you have to take it a step further and carry yourselves as examples to others. What I want is for these FIFA referees to know that they are the top referees in the country and you represent Trinidad and Tobago.

“The younger referees must be able to emulate you.”

Photo: Cindy Mohammed (right) receives the 2012/13 Pro League Referees' Assistant of the Year award from former Trinidad and Tobago national football captain Clayton Morris. (Courtesy TT Pro League)
Photo: Cindy Mohammed (right) receives the 2012/13 Pro League Referees’ Assistant of the Year award from former Trinidad and Tobago national football captain Clayton Morris.
(Courtesy TT Pro League)

Fitness has been a regular concern for local officials. Mohammed missed the 2010 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup after failing a fitness test while Dion Neil was sent back from the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup after also falling short of the required standard.

It is uncertain whether Mohammed’s possible loss of local status will affect her FIFA appointment.

 

Editor’s Note: Do you think improved fitness would lead to a noticeable improvement in the standard of local referees? Scroll down to leave a comment below.

AboutLasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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3 comments

  1. I AGREE THE TTFA REFEREES COMMITTEE STILL OWES REFEREES MONIES FROM VARIOUS LEAGUES SPANNING AS FAR BACK AS 2011 FROM LEAGUES SUCH AS THE SSFL BOYS AND GIRLS, THE TTWOLF FOR THREE YEARS, OASIS YOUTH PRO LEAGUE, THE B MOBILE NATIONAL YOUTH LEAGUE, THE 2012 / 2013 FA CUP, THE PFL RESERVE LEAGUE, UTT FOOTBALL LEAGUE AND THE TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS LEAGUE. IT WAS ONLY OVER THE WEEKEND THAT MONIES WERE PAID FOR THE 2012 SUPER LEAGUE, AND YET STILL THEY EXPECT REFEREES TO BE MOTIVATED TO STAY FIT? NONSENSE! AS A REFEREE I AM SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING LEGAL ACTION AGAINST THEM TO RECOVER OVER $10,000 IN STIPENDS OWED TO ME .. BRYAN LAYNE , RAMESH RAMDHAN AND THEIR ENTIRE TEAM SHOULD BE FIRED……………

  2. Football referring in this country should be a voluntary service until the TTFA and the pro league starts to emulate the bigger leagues and pay attractive salaries, with their top refs on retainer contracts. Yes fitness would improve standards but what is a referee’s motivation in this country when they collect payments for games after 4 to 5 months of servicing games at the highest level.
    Its an embarrassment to the league and the country as a whole that referees have to endure these circumstances and still be motivated enough to stay fit. Just as Mr. Layne is concerned about referees fitness he should also be concerned about referees well being and compensation.