“The point is, the referees must understand that emotions will be high depending on their errors and whoever behaves in a manner contrary to the rules and regulations will stand the consequences. But the game must never, never suffer.”
Former Arima mayor and MP Ashton Ford criticises protest action by the Trinidad and Tobago referees’ body against TTSL club, Santa Rosa FC, in a Letter to the Editor:
The unusual decision by the referees to boycott matches that feature Santa Rosa FC from Arima is wrong. It is wrong because the referees took it upon themselves to control the games on and off the field. They obviously did not take into consideration the damage inflicted not only on the players but on the entire community.
For almost two decades, I have never seen the crowd come out to the Arima Velodrome to witness a football game as occurred in matches that featured Santa Rosa FC [this season]. What is even more remarkable is the fact that the crowds are in attendance for other teams in the Super League all over the country, that is, in Guayaguayare, Moruga, Cunupia and Tobago.
The last time we in Arima saw such large crowds was way back in the 80’s when Memphis and Arima Senior Comprehensive dominated football in the National League and Secondary School competitions respectively.
So the action by the referees will be really destroying football throughout the country. And if the referees believe that their actions will bring about an end to criticism of their performance, they are wrong.
Let me remind them that we will never forget the referee who officiated in an Inter-League game in the 60’s between an Arima and Port- of-Spain team when a tame shot from Eustace Devenish slipped through the legs of Lincoln Philip and crossed the line before the Port-of-Spain goalkeeper pulled back the ball. The next day, a newspaper published a picture of the ball over the line.
We will never forget how the T&T national team in the early 1970’s was robbed in Haiti in the qualifying game for the 1974 World Cup. Our team scored four goals but only one was allowed by the referee.
And, in cricket, we will never forget how Brian Lara was treated by umpires across the globe through their bad decisions.
We will never forget the assistant referee who ruled Joevin Jones offside in the crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier between T&T and Mexico. The disallowed “goal” denied us a draw that could have helped our team in their campaign.
Similarly, the referee in the Costa Rica game will not be forgiven when he did not award a penalty for a tug on Trinidad and Tobago forward Jamille Boatswain that was very obvious to all and sundry who watched the game in astonishment.
And so we will never forget the referee who allowed play to continue when a player was lying down on the field motionless in the game between Santa Rosa FC and Guaya at the Arima Velodrome.
We have never heard of any disciplinary action taken against referees and umpires due to their bad decisions.
The point is, the referees must understand that emotions will be high depending on their errors and whoever behaves in a manner contrary to the rules and regulations will stand the consequences. But the game must never, never suffer.
Maybe if the referees have their way, sports commentators like Fazeer Mohammed and Andre Baptiste will not be able to function freely without fear or favour.
In the circumstances, I strongly recommend that the governing body, TTFA, and the national coach, Dennis Lawrence, intervene to save the game from the misguided referees who seem bent on carrying out dastardly actions.
Former mayor and member of Parliament,