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Disgruntled Tobago refs willing to resume service but eye TTSL Look Loy investigation

With two days to go before Bethel United’s Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) clash with UTT at the Montgomery Recreation Ground in Tobago, neither officials of the TTSL nor of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees’ Association (TTFRA) are able to confirm whether referees will show up for the encounter.

On Sunday 12 November, referees from the TRA were a no-show for two TTSL games involving Bethel and Siparia Spurs, and 1976 FC Phoenix and WASA FC. The refs staged a boycott allegedly in response to comments made by FC Santa Rosa coach and TTSL president Keith Look Loy following an FA Trophy game against Phoenix last month.

Photo: TTSL president Keith Look Loy (left) and CFTL chairman Chris Anderson agree sponsorship for two cups for the 2017 TTSL season during a press conference at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 5 June 2017.
(Courtesy Roneil Walcott/Wired868)

“Until a letter of apology is sent to satisfy us,” former FIFA referee and TRA head Noel Bynoe had told Wired868, “we will continue to boycott. We as Tobagonians are a decent people. We don’t leave our homes to come and cheat people…”

The TRA reportedly took great umbrage at Look Loy’s assertion that “Clubs from Trinidad view a match in Tobago with great distaste as they believe they have little chance of winning.”

Look Loy has since apologised for his statements. And although the TRA were set to meet to address the issue last night, Wired868 has been unable to reach Bynoe for a reaction despite numerous attempts.

TTSL secretary Camara David said the TRA have expressed an interest in resuming service but he suggested that they are keeping a close eye on the current disciplinary matter involving referee Cecile Hinds and Santa Rosa coaches Look Loy and Jovan Rochford before making any statement about their next step.

On 5 November, Hinds ordered the pair of Look Loy and Rochford off the Santa Rosa bench after they reportedly abused her in voicing their disapproval of her handling of a collision between Santa Rosa attacker Rashad Griffith and Guaya United custodian Shane Mattis.

Photo: FC Santa Rosa forward Rashad Griffith (centre) tries to hold off a Club Sando Moruga defender during 2015/16 National Super League (NSL) Premiership Division action at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

David indicated that the TTSL’s Disciplinary Committee was expected to meet today but a verdict may not be reached for a couple more days. And he suggested that the TRA should not wait on the Disciplinary Committee’s decision before making one of their own.

The clock is ticking for both the TTSL and the TRA. David wants to finish the season as scheduled—without further delays or mishaps—and he hopes to play Sunday’s boycotted games before the League’s last match day on 10 December.

Tomorrow evening from 7pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium, the TTSL’s Caribbean Football Trust Limited (CFTL) Cup finals will take centre-stage with Guaya meeting Prisons FC. So when the hands reach 6 ‘o’ clock on Sunday evening, David will certainly hope that officials are leading cellar-placed Bethel and fifth-placed UTT on to the pitch.

According to Look Loy, the League coughed up $12,000 for Siparia Spurs and WASA to make the fruitless trip to Tobago last weekend so they will not want to engage in any further futile expenditure.

“As a consequence of this boycott by Tobago referees, with no prior warning to TTSL or FC Santa Rosa, the League lost twelve thousand dollars in airfare, which it will now have to purchase a second time,” Look Loy wrote in correspondence to the TTFRA earlier this week.

Photo: North East Stars substitute Jayson Joseph (left) lunges at W Connection midfielder Christian Rodriguez in front of referee Cecile Hinds (background) in the 2015 TTFA FA Trophy final.
Joseph received a straight card for his tackle.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Although admitting that the TTFRA have neither control nor influence over the referees assigned for duty in TTSL games in Tobago, TTFRA President Joseph Taylor and his 3rd Vice-president Osmond Downer are both hoping that the impasse will be settled quickly, allowing the TTSL schedule to proceed as planned.

“I have been trying to make some private interventions, hoping that good sense will prevail,” said Downer, who sees the current stand-off as a key juncture in the administration of local football.

“I would have hoped that they reached to a resolution [by now],” Taylor told Wired868.

The TTFRA President, however, indicated that referees in both Trinidad, and Tobago wanted to receive more respect from players and coaches, particularly Look Loy and Santa Rosa.

According to Taylor, the recent incidents involving Rosa and the match officials were the straws that broke the camel’s back.

“There must be some kind of standard met,” Taylor said, alluding to post-match Facebook posts uploaded by FC Santa Rosa. “[The TRA] wanted to draw to the attention of the TTSL and Keith Look Loy that certain behaviours will not be tolerated. […] Referees are disgruntled by Look Loy and Rochford’s approach to Hinds.”

Photo: FC Santa Rosa coach Keith Look Loy (centre) talks to his players at halftime while then captain Jovan Rochford (right) has a drink of water during 2015/16 CNG National Super League (NSL) Premiership Division action against Club Sando Moruga at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

Despite removing the Facebook post which served as a match report on Rosa’s defeat by Phoenix in the Round of 16 stage of the FA Trophy on 25 October, Look Loy has defended his team’s right to freedom of speech in the past week.

“FC Santa Rosa is a private organization, with full entitlement to the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago,” he wrote in his letter of apology to the TRA. “The article in question, which was not opinion but which included a statement of certain match facts, broke no law of Trinidad and Tobago, was not libelous, nor in contravention of any football regulation.”

Will Look Loy be more cautious of what he posts on Rosa’s Facebook page in the future? Does he think continued boycott action will prevent the League from finishing by its scheduled cut-off date?

Up until the time of publication, Wired868 was unable to reach the Rosa coach and TTSL President for comment. And no new posts by him had appeared on Facebook.

About Roneil Walcott

Roneil Walcott
Roneil Walcott is an avid sports fan and freelance reporter with a BA in Mass Communication from COSTAATT. Roneil is a former Harvard and St Mary's College cricketer who once had lofty aspirations of bringing joy to sport fans with the West Indies team. Now, his mission is to keep them on the edge of their seats with sharp commentary from off the playing field.

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33 comments

  1. So the referees are beyond reproach in T&T. There should never be criticism of their performance. We all should be called on to account. I have heard many people complain about the performance of football officials through the years and the question is who assesses the referee?

  2. Maybe the solution to the problem is for the league to hire their own referees therefore they will stricter guidelines on conduct for all parties and consequences. Why this matter could of gone the legal route to recover cost of money he boycott since it seems it wasn’t properly announced to the team flying in, which incurred a serious cost. Just my view

  3. This man will spoil his own league let the reff them do there work you can’t coach run the ttsl an reff the game at the same time

  4. Thiefing set a old men…trying to control young people sports

  5. Thing is. Not many players or coaches are satisfied with the quality of refereeing locally.

    Situations like this are likely to happen in the near future.

    • Coaches get blasted(often fired)for their decisions or results, players are tortured by media and fans. The only other folks on the field are the referees but somehow they expect not to be critiqued. I am not for abusing nor disrespecting referees but come on this boycott action exemplifies a lack of professionals and disrespect of the beautiful game equivalent to a coach or player abusing the referee.

  6. Somebody is suffering with foot-in-mouth disease

  7. Is it that one must not speak ill of a referee?
    Aren’t they paid to do a job?
    Who pays them?
    If I buy bread from a bakery and I believe that I haven’t gotten the best quality, is it wrong to say so?

  8. What about an apology from the TRA for their actions which affected not only the teams traveling to Tobago but the Tobago teams as well.

  9. Football is about footballers! Referees boycott and coaches conduct now centerstage. Football grows through players not nonsense about coaches and referees, can they not see the big picture. Your product is football, the customer’s experience with football is the most important matter. I recall EPL referees threatening to boycott Chelsea matches due to Chelsea Mikel accusing Clattenberg of inappropriate language. The boycott never happened but the lesson for me was the EPL referees did not want to affect the entire league only Chelsea. Since FC Santa Rosa offended the referees, why not boycott their games only. The referees actions are targeted at the President of the league and thereby the entire league and not the sole offending team. I hope the parties stop this nonsense and remember the players and the customer

    • Totally agree! This matter is now clearly a case of “We against he (KLL)” – A case of a group trying to show that their balls are bigger than one. So, the question remains, if the referees’ body are not satisfied with disciplinary action (or lack of) handed down to KLL personally, are we to expect that they would impose their own form on “discipline” on the TTSL?

    • And what a poor case it is, likely to throw out the baby with the bath water. At time the Pro League is struggling, National team performance lacking and SSFL scandal ridden the TTSL has been a beacon of light for our football.

  10. “According to Taylor, the recent incidents involving Rosa and the match officials were the straws that broke the camel’s back”. Not the first time…sure as hell WON’T BE THE LAST… I await the next episode.

  11. Is there a chance of Justice playing out free and fair ?

  12. They are all consistent …..consistently Bad…

  13. If the prime minister of a country and the political leader of a party are one and the same, can the party discipline the political leader fairly without regard for the fact that he is also the prime minister?

    • Disciplinary action has to be all inclusive, regardless of position or power, however, the party may want to assess the outcome of the disciplinary action on their leader, because it may affect their strategy and their image as a political party. So, to be honest, it cannot be disregarded!

    • But, the Disciplinary Committee must be impartial in carrying out their function, or else, their ethical behavior can be called into question.

  14. Wait… what?
    Siparia Spurs and WASA were the Trinidad based teams affected by the boycott? So why would there be an expectation that Santa Rosa would be advised of the boycott if the team wasn’t even going to be affected?

  15. Thanks for keeping this Issue alive Lasana .