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Referee no-show for Santa Rosa match; Look Loy: They are terrorising independent TTFA members

The Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) and its president Keith Look Loy faced more boycott action from referees today, as no officials turned up for a League fixture between Siparia Spurs and Look Loy’s FC Santa Rosa club at the Palo Seco Velodrome.

It’s now the second straight weekend in which games have been abandoned owing to a no-show by match officials.

Photo: Referee Rashby McPhie (right) has a word with FC Santa Rosa midfielder Durwin Ross during TTSL One action in a game involving Bethel United at the Arima Velodrome on 18 June 2017.
(Courtesy Annalicia Caruth/Wired868)

Last Sunday, the Tobago Referees Association (TRA) boycotted two TTSL games in Tobago on the grounds of alleged disparaging comments by Look Loy about the fairness of their officials in the aftermath of an FA Trophy game between Santa Rosa and 1976 FC Phoenix last month. Today, the Tobago referees were back out to work as they oversaw UTT’s 3-0 win over cellar-placed Bethel United at the Montgomery Recreation Ground.

However, in Trinidad, no referees turned up for a game involving the TTSL president’s club.

“These referees are acting on their own accord,” Look Loy told Wired868. “They are using force to terrorise people and disrupt lives. They are terrorising independent members of the TTFA.

“The referees are forgetting that they are a part of football and not the owners of football.”

League secretary Camara David confirmed the boycott but declined further on the matter. However, Wired868 understands that the referees are awaiting the decision of the TTSL’s Disciplinary Committee on a matter involving referee Cecile Hands and Rosa coaches Look Loy and Jovan Rochford before moving forward.

In a recent conversation with Wired868, David suggested that the referees should not wait on the Disciplinary Committee—which is an independent body—before deciding their own course of action.

Photo: TTFA president David John-Williams (right) smiles with fourth official Cecile Hinds before the First Citizens Bank Cup final between Defence Force and Ma Pau Stars at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 2 December 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Wired868 also has in its possession a document which shows that referees were assigned for all the TTSL games in Trinidad today except the Spurs v Santa Rosa encounter.

Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees’ Association (TFRA) 3rd Vice-president Osmond Downer and Wayne Caesar, head of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s (TTFA) Refereeing Department, said they had no knowledge of today’s boycott action.

TTFRA president Joseph Taylor could not be reached for comment while Boni Bishop, the Referees’ Committee Board member charged with the responsibility of appointing match officials, told Wired868: “I can’t talk now.”

Incidentally, Siparia have now gone without action for the third straight match-day. On 5 November, Siparia forfeited a game to Queen’s Park Cricket Club owing to the unavailability of their Palo Seco home ground. And, on 12 November, Spurs were one of two Trinidad teams to make futile trips to Tobago because a late TRA boycott meant their matches never kicked off.

Two TTSL Tier One clubs will be demoted at the end of the season. And, with only three match days left, Spurs and Bethel seem all but doomed as they bring up the rear on the table with nine and seven points respectively, trailing tenth-placed Club Sando Moruga who are on 16 points.

Photo: FC Santa Rosa coach Keith Look Loy (centre) talks to his players at half-time 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)

How did things get here?

On 25 October, Phoenix ousted Santa Rosa from the FA Trophy at the Round of 16 stage following a controversial penalty shootout. Thereafter, Rosa coach Look Loy sent a letter of complaint to the TTFRA and posted a match report on his team’s Facebook page—the post has since been deleted. In his letter to the TTFRA, Look Loy claimed that “clubs from Trinidad view a match in Tobago with great distaste as they believe they have little chance of winning.”

TRA head Noel Bynoe communicated his dissatisfaction with Look Loy’s comments and warned that strike action would continue in Tobago if the TTSL president failed to offer up an apology.

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

Look Loy subsequently submitted an apology to the TRA, although he noted that last weekend’s boycott cost the League approximately $12,000. He did not give the cost of today’s boycott.

“It seems as though they want to tie the refereeing of Santa Rosa’s games to the [pending] decision of the Disciplinary Committee,” Look Loy said.

Photo: FC Santa Rosa coach Keith Look Loy reacts to action during his team’s 1-0 win over Marabella Family Crisis Centre in 2015/16 CNG National Super League action.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868

Just recently, TTFRA president Taylor told Wired868 that referees wanted to be on the receiving end of more respectful behaviour from coaches; particularly Look Loy and Santa Rosa.

“[The TRA] wanted to draw to the attention of the TTSL and Keith Look Loy that certain behaviours will not be tolerated,” he said. “[…] Referees are disgruntled by Look Loy and Rochford’s approach to Hinds.”

Rosa (44 points) missed the chance to leapfrog leaders Guaya (46 points) as the Ron La Forest-coached team were inactive today, following their exploits in last night’s TTSL Caribbean Football Trust Limited (CFTL) knockout final—which they won 3-1 against Prisons FC at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

Look Loy said he just wants the inaugural TTSL season to finish on schedule. The TTRFA has not indicated one way or the other whether they are willing to facilitate that.

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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102 comments

  1. Once they are at the game, they can display the level of professionalism they choose. The players deserve to showcase a weeks training for the benefit of the customers, the fans and sponsors.

  2. Colonial attitude toward problem solving and resolution ,Millennial attitude toward conflict resolution.The problem is Professional Attitude based.Fine it !

  3. ..The inside word from Referee Central now is that they coming out for Santa Rosa..

  4. Well Keith, I’m glad that this is resolved. Now the paper tiger, thin skinned referees have no reason not to show up for work. Let’s now trust that this will sensitize them to the need for higher standards and improved performance. Let’s hope that they will attend continuing education training (INCLUDING FITNESS), lets hope that they will devise a process for 360 degree feedback, peer assessment and maybe develop their own performance scorecards. I’m hoping they can do some of these things on their own since they don’t want anyone else to point out areas for improvement.

  5. Its amusing to me Travis Mulraine to see the bachanaal taking place. Because as a player i was labeled as indisciplined among other things. Ent Lasana Liburd . But all stakeholders most be held accountable which includes referees. But there is saying ” you can do what you want but not for how long you want” its the end of the road for incompetent referees. That the furore is with the president’s club was just the Will of ALLAH.He is the best of planners.

  6. ..Ever wonder why the referee seems to be behind the play? Of forty plus referees scheduled for a national fitness test last Saturday only TWELVE turned up. THIS is part of the problem that will continue long after Look Loy..

  7. ..And I repeat, the Disciplinary Committee rejected the claims of threats being issued. Red herring being tossed out there by the referees to avoid a discussion on their failings. But tha is already underway..

  8. ..And I should add that the borderline criminal negligence of the referee in leaving an unconscious player without attention on the field, which kicked off all of this nonsense, has evidently flown completely over all the commentators and analysts heads. Had he died, been crippled or gone into a coma, some of us – the referees for sure – would still be talking about who used abusive language while I would be dealing with his family in crisis. And btw, for those who care, after almost three weeks he still has not been medically cleared to return to training..

  9. ..The TTSL Disciplinary Committee decided to fine both Santa Rosa coaches $1’000 with a one match ban. Standard. Importantly, the Committee departed from the norm of accepting the referee’s report as final, and rejected her claim of “denigratory” abuse and threats as unproven. This is a first. Normally the referee’s report is taken as the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth. Both coaches had long admitted to using a couple “bad words”, had apologized, and had indicated their willingness to accept any decision of the Committee without appeal. Hopefully now we could forget about Look Loy and focus on what is important – the dire state of refereeing..

  10. And how many turned up to do the test.

  11. But Look Loy and Rochford is not the first two people to cuss way referees.
    Eh ? Steupse

    This is foolishness, and is a clear gesture of the referees or the referees association incompetence and arrogance in T&T

  12. Hannibal Najjar

    I do not know if I got it all wrong but:
    Keith Lookloy charges that the referees “….are using force to terrorise people and disrupt lives. They are terrorising independent members of the TTFA”. He continues that “The referees are forgetting that they are a part of football and not the owners of football.”
    Keith, my colleague, past teammate, and friend, I understand that nobody owns the football and all are a part of it. Just are Principals are to teachers in the critical art of the teaching and learning process, so too are referees to the coaches and student-athletes in sports. No one is all things to all people just as no one is nothing to anyone.
    I recall ever so vividly playing an off-season competitive game for Grissoms with deceased CIC teammate and friend, Russell Tiexiera and other wonderful friends and players from the Nelson Street housing complex and having a never-to-forget experience with a linesman. The game was played in the last Diego Martin facility (taxi hub) before taking to the hills of Paramin. In that game, I believe that I scored one of the best goals that anyone could ever see, only to have my celebratory run be whistled off by the referee who looked like himself saddened to call it back. He pointed to the lines person and shuck his shoulder as to say, “it wasn’t me”. I ran to linesman and gave him an earful – let me say, it was an EARFUL!
    That night while lying in my Petit Valley, Appleblossom Ave home and bed, at about 10:00 pm, I shared with my wife that I needed to apologize to the ref. She replied OK. And I said, “you do not understand, I mean now, tonight!” She said, Hannibal, be realistic and I offered a thought that has ever rung in my ears, “delayed obedience is disobedience” and to me, then, I was saying that I shall not delay doing this. I called my Essex teammate, Abiola Belewa and shared with him my wish. Obviously, Abi reminded me of the late night time. I insisted that I wanted it done, NOW. My friend agreed to take me to the ref’s house. “Knock, Knock”, and there, before me was the ref, dressed in a merino (vest) and “dragon draws” (something that you would never get me wearing). He said, “Hannibal, what are you doing here?” (Abi is standing behind with, a, “not me” look on his face). “I wanted to apologize for my outburst in the game earlier”. “Hannibal, what’s wrong with you, it’s 11:00 o’clock and besides, we all know you and just how passionate you are do not take your outbursts to the extreme limits – we know and understand you”. I left satisfied that I did not delay and to have heard myself in the company of my friend Abi, apologize for my breakout.
    Keith Lookloy, regardless of the wrong call or calls that you felt were administered against you and your club, these men and women are still there to support the efforts of raising our children and young people and they should not be chastised or belittled even when you feel the call should be otherwise. One time, I heard one ref telling some players and their coach, “when you play a flawless game, I will ref a perfect game”. That was as true a statement and reminder of the mistakes that we are all capable of making even with out best, clean-hands and pure-hearts intentions. Keith Lookloy, my urging of you is to make an open, fearless, and sincere apology to the refs and your club. Let the young people witness this classy and life-long lesson.

  13. Madness…it’s like the inmates running the asylum…everyone just doing what the hell the like…SMH

  14. ..FC Santa Rosa has just sent a proposal to TTFA regarding this and ther changes to the referee dispensation. A copy was provided to Lasana..

    • Keith you consult with other teams before you sent it? The ttfa is (as you know) extremely unfit for office. If you just send it individually because of your bust up with the refs and not with the consults of other agreeing members of the league ..it will simply be ignored. Are you looking for a legit resolution or just an argument with the refs? You’re going about this the wrong way and forgetting that the manner of your reaction ignited this in the first place. Two sides are wrong here and none are admitting this (genuinely). Be smart NOT emotional…… have a sit down (arbitrated if necessary) and sort out the differences …..

    • ..What do you know about if I am genuine? Anyway, the proposal was submitted by Santa Rosa but I surely consulted other parties, including clubs and one regional association. I also shared the document widely throughout football – the regions and leagues. And also to the media. Everyone has a copy. I recognize the proposal is just that – a proposal for discussion and subject to change. But let the powers now try to bury it..

    • The only person who knows if your apology is genuine is you ….exactly my point. Anyway based on what you’re saying you went about it using the right avenues which was where my suggestion was going. Try not to be so testy nah everybody not trying to bite yuh head off …some people trying to keep it fair …..

    • ..I understand that bro. My question was rhetorical. No extra fights needed..

  15. Unless its a FIFA requirement to use the TTRA/TFA referees, this league should have its own list of referees that are screened, evaluated, and credential eligible to referee TTSL games. The players, coaches, trainers, physios, managers etc can not be held hostage by referees. The TTSL needs to if permitted by FIFA to have its own pool of referees that they can invest in training and development. There is too much at risk and too many people being damaged over this nonsense. If I owned a team in this league, had players salaries to pay, sponsors to satisfy I would not be held hostage by referees. Best solution TTSL referees, raise the standards now

  16. Referees anywhere and in any sport are not above criticism. Standards must be raised. No one denies the legitimate concerns of the referees as they feel that they have been wronged. There is a disciplinary process which is being followed. It is not up to the referees to decide how that process should go, and further as a part of the league they (just like all other parties) must abide by the findings and actions emerging from the disciplinary process. They cannot just take matters into their hands.

  17. Well if we wanna talk about standards that are HORRIBLE in local football we cyar stop at d referees eh…soooooooo let’s not start to call names….cuz I will whistle

  18. Would be interesting to find out which referees passed the fitness test on Saturday gone.

  19. The last statement “an educated fool” sums it up.

  20. While the Administrators, Referees, TTFA, fight, or are engaged in whose cock is bigger; they show pettiness and no disregard for the youths (both male and female), who play this game, who train 6, maybe 7 days weekly to come out and play because they love this, and prefer to be out playing with a ball rather than a gun, who just want to enjoy village, street, companion, school rivalry, and a week or maybe a season of bragging rights.

    This here is why minor leagues everywhere can get even National players to play. Because the game will play. The same referees, officials, etc, come out and enjoy these games.

    Sad we miss the 1st reason why we play.

  21. Life funny eh, when he was talking out his rear end it was all well and good. Now there’s talk about who is unprofessional…look!

  22. ..Let them boycott Prisons now..

  23. So referees are GODS and are beyond reproach. No one should criticize them or they wiuld boycott your matches. There should be an independent assessment biard for referees setting perfirmance standards ans continuously assessing them. Everyone must be called to account. The President of the league has the right to criticize referees lke everyone else including coaches. No obe is beyond reproach or then they are GODS

  24. Guess the Referee’s Committee feeling like a bite up shilling this morning. The level of unprofessionalism that we condone is baffling.

  25. Referees boycott a team because they are criticized by the coach. Really? By the sound of this apparently he won’t get a fair game by these referees either WHEN they decide to do Santa Rosa FC games again!

  26. I said it time and time again people does things and put there position at risk. Time to use private referees? Pay them separate from TTRA that’s the only way you can guarantee that it doesn’t happen again

  27. Not sure how one can state a letter of apology isn’t genuine, however, I believe the refs do feel aggrieved and some sort of mediation would be useful even before the disciplinary committee rules.

  28. Ah feel is a process Carlos Lee. What yuh think? Albeit independent of outside interference!.

  29. Ivor – the refs are not being petty. They’re standing their ground against unfair criticism and unsportsmanlike behavior by the president of the TTSL. The letters of apology written by the president are not genuine. They should boycott every game until the Disciplinary Committee acts. I don’t understand why they haven’t delivered judgement on Keith and Rochford as yet.

    • That’s ironic eh. On the field, the referee’s decision is final even if wrong. But are you saying the referees should refuse to accept the ruling of the disciplinary committee according to what it is?

    • I agree with standing their ground if they feel that is the case. The thing is the referees are obligated to do their duty while the disciplinary process takes its course. These two should be acting independently. I agree with boycotting every game but not singling out Santa Rosa games it shows bias and is unprofessional.

    • Lasana – depends. If the Disciplinary Committee decides on an inappropriate ruling – say a simple warning to Keith and Rochford. Then I would support a decision by the refs to withhold their services.

    • Carlos in other words the refs are a law unto themselves. You are essentially arguing their right to punish Sandra Rosa until the Disciplinary Committee decides to discipline Look Loy…and then for the refs to discipline Look Loy some more if they eh like the decision of the Committee. Over what, criticism?? Madness.

      Imagine if DJW was criticized by a national team player, and was to order Dennis Lawrence to blacklist that player until a disciplinary decision, all while reserving unto himself the right to mete out further discipline if he doh like what the disciplinary process yields. Would you support that too? What then is the purpose of having a process/system at all?

    • Nigel – actually I’m saying they should withhold their services not just for Santa Rosa matches, but for all TTSL matches. This is a simple issue to resolve. Keith just has to make an unreserved apology to the ref and to the referee association for his unprofessional and unsportsmanlike behavior. If you allow the president of the league to cuss out a ref, make sexist comments about refs, and malign refs from a particular area of the country (Tobago), then you are facilitating an unsafe and unworkable environment for the refs to operate. This must be nipped in the bud now. The refs should stand their ground until it gets resolve.

    • Carlos then let the disciplinary process run its course, don’t prematurely take the law into your hands because of verbal abuse. I’m not trying to minimize his actions but let’s not act as though is physical assault we talking about here.

    • Nigel – I hear you. It’s strange that the Disciplinary Committee is taking this long to rule on this issue. Things like these should be decided on within one week, unless there are appeals.

    • steups…bunch of thinned skinned individuals in this country.. the standard of refereeing is HORRIBLE… and refs cyah take ah lil cuss?”steups.. everyone who play the game know that when the game done ..thats it… these refs behaving lije a bunch ah primadonnas

    • Ah – interesting. The refs are at fault for being cussed out by the president of the TTSL. Blame the victim for the crime committed upon them. lol

    • Are referees beyond reproach that they can withhold their services because of a single offence and in particular single out a particular club? I’d suspend their services and acquire independent refs. They have balls I’ll give em that …would like to see that kinda power applied to getting that fat f*** out of power from the ttfa from other members of our footballing fraternity.

    • Unfair criticism? Criticism is criticism and ‘adults’ take heed to criticism. Without criticism none of us will learn a thing. In this case, the man apologized, consequently this boycott is political and deeper than it appears on the surface.

    • Kenneth – How would you feel if your boss criticize and demean you in public? Would you want to work for such an a-hole? Feedback is a good thing. But there’s a place and time for it. A good manager would sit with you share his/her feedback, then work with you to develop a plan to strengthen your deficiencies.

    • It went from professional to personal and whether we had a beef with the manner in which our boss criticised us …if you didnt show up for work with a particular client specifically because of this ongoing conflict and showed up for your other clients …that would be grounds for termination. It seems clear to me that a sit down should be arranged and kinks ironed out in person. Without this there will be attempts to get back at one another (like kids) which will neither help nor resolve the standoff

    • Carlos nah man! How could you in any capacity support this action of the referees? This is really unprofessional of the referees. Santa Rosa FC and any team they play against has no beef with the referees. Referees should be held to the highest standard of integrity. With this personal “head hunting” by these “professionals” we see clearly how “competent” they are to carry out their duties without being biased. So, now we are to expect any team/player/fan/official to utter anything unkind to these refs, to be faced with similar action. Carlos, yuh petticoat showing brother.

    • Carlos Lee How could you condone being childish? The referees’ response was vindictive and regressive. At least, Keith Look Loy, was adult enough to see the error of his ways in the heat of the situation and was man enough to ‘apologize’. We need to be adult about his unfortunate situation and not choose sides.

    • Junior – I’m looking at this issue as an objective observer. I don’t know any of the referees personally, nor do I know or have had any personal interactions with Keith. From my perspective, Keith’s alledged behavior was highly unprofessional and unbecoming of the president of the TTSL. How can you condone his alledged sexist remarks? How can you condone the demeaning statements about Tobago refs? How can you condone his verbal attacks and bullying of the refs? Keith is not just a man in the street. Keith is the president of the TTSL. His alledged unprofessional behavior, if not properly dealt with now, would create a hostile working environment for all refs. No one will respect them – not spectators, not coaches, not players. Refs will become open game for abuse by all those in the footballing fraternity. You can’t have that. In the EPL Keith would be banned for the type of remarks he was alledged to have made. In the US he would surely be ostracized for his alledged sexest remarks.

    • Kenneth – An unreserved apology from Keith would have gone a long way to bring this issue to an end. Both of his apology letters fell short of their mark. He was basically like – I apologize, but know that I was in the right. Just own up and say I’m sorry for my remarks. They were said in the heat of the moment, after a tough loss, and in retrospect I regret making those comments.

    • Keith, I never condone Keith’s actions or uttering. Wrong is Wrong! Keith has to take responsibility for his unprofessional behavior. However, his professionalism is not a license for the referees to show theirs also. The actions of both sides is a microcosm of the wider Trinidad – you do me, so I would ride back for you. Somewhere, people need to grow up, accept responsibility, and, if wronged or wrong, understand that there is a process. Don’t go running to take matters in your own hands (As the referees are doing). When we see BS, we must call it out for what it is (as you did with calling out KLL). If we don’t call out the refs, then we can’t call out any of the stakeholders including the Football President when BS get pelt in we face. Ah gone eeen!

    • There is one point I agree with Carlos on …an unreserved apology would have resolved this issue. There was a hint of “I apologize but I might be right” which aggravated the situation. Perhaps if they had boycotted all the games in unison you could say well they clearly want to impact this situation but, to single out the club has taken it to a personal level and outside of regular protocols.

    • Junior – I love what you’re saying, but from your earlier statements you didn’t seem to be applying it to Keith. You were calling out the refs, but not Keith and his behavior. There’s a total lack of discipline in TnT. It’s cultural and often starts at the top. That’s why I think it’s critical that Keith’s unprofessional behavior be addressed as soon as possible. If he gets away with it refs are dead. The ref fraternity is a very small fraternity and they’re rightly supporting each other. That’s the only way change will occur. Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe there’s room for improvement in the way they perform their duties. Keith, as president of the TTSL, can help with the above, but only through a partnership with the refs.

    • Malik – agree Malik. Well said.

    • Refs have already handed down judgement without KLL having a hearing. We cannot continue with bush law when we are not happy with the process to trial and conviction. And, we cannot take the law into our own hands when we find “The process didn’t give us what we expected”.

    • I think what you’re seeing is a simple protest by the ref. It’s akin to the Immigration officers withholding their services to influence a pending decision or a denial of benefits.

    • Well that certainly makes it right.

    • But, what exactly are the referees protesting? And, what is their expected outcome?

    • They’re protesting the unprofessional behavior exhibited by the president of TTSL and FC Santa Rosa head coach towards one of their own. Thought that was obvious:-)

    • The expected outcome is that he desist from similar unprofessional bahavior in the future and likely stop lambasting them in the press.

    • That should be between them and the President (that is personal). Should not involve the whole league. Why suffer the whole league because of the actions of an individual. I eh see the whole ah Trinidad protesting because of de actions or lack thereof of the TTFA President?

    • I think they’re seriously overreacting ….. because they were offended on the manner Lookloy protested (understandable) …however, one of Santa Rosa’s “players” was knocked unconscious …..as a coach despite all types of injuries that pop up …a man laying unconscious is easily the most dreaded …. he was well in his rights to be reactive …. if he was overactive have a meeting suspend him …fine him but shut the league down for it? Lol comedy. How many times we see that pos Mourinho abuse or criticise the refs ability to handle a game? Blown out of proportion because we have no set rules in place to handle our leagues.

    • Well – unfortunately when Keith speaks he will be perceived as speaking for the league as well. As long as he heads up both positions, his views will always be perceived as the views of the league. Hence he needs to be careful about what he says.

    • Malik – The Disciplinary Committee sticking. They need to rule on this fast so we can move on. Hopefully:-)

    • Yeah I think so …. We always in slow motion in TnT except in ah carnival fete 🙁

    • Dat is why we invent the term “Groovy Soca” – so even in fete we does slow down.

  30. Very petty. But isn’t that like everything else in T&T. Politics to Football. Quite petty and vindictive. So the referees are a law unto themselves now.

  31. Once is a mistake, twice is a habit

  32. So basically the referees are boycotting Keith look Loy? They scheduled referees for each game except Santa Rosa’s. That is NOT fair nor appropriate and it is not a gesture of conciliation. He has two instances where he complained about referees and in both occasions apologized. Yes there’s still a disciplinary matter outstanding and it seems that they are using that to target Look Loy. That does not make sense to me.