Former Arima mayor: Referees damage communities when they boycott football matches

EPL Properties Ltd

“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:

Photo: FC Santa Rosa midfielder Jesse Rampersad (centre) tries to outrun Bethel United opponent Anton Simon (left) during TTSL One action at the Arima Velodrome on 18 June 2017.
(Courtesy Annalicia Caruth/Wired868)

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.

KFC Munch Pack

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.

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

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.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago head coach Dennis Lawrence (right) appeals to the referee’s assistant during 2018 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the National Stadium in San José on 13 June 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

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.

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)

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.

Ashton Ford,

Former mayor and member of Parliament,


More from Wired868
Rigues elected TTSL president by a single vote, as Edwards loses again

Guaya United business development manager Jameson Rigues was elected tonight as the new Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president, Read more

Dear Editor: The Republic Cup NYFL can and should do better than this

“[…] The fields that are being used offer little or no amenities for players, especially females, and supporters—not even water. Read more

Dear Editor: Machel’s One Show was dangerous to patrons and the HC Stadium surface

“[…] Some keen observations coming out of the show—apart from the long lines and late gates—was the failure to fully protect Read more

Revenge served cold! Wired868 examines collapse of TTSL Board, after De Four motion

On 19 September 2021, Prison Service superintendent Lee Davis was elected as president of the Trinidad and Tobago Super League Read more

Intercol suggestions: More teams, random draw and “mid-season Intercol breaks”

The following is written in my capacity as Arima North Secondary football representative and team manager and serves as a Read more

Dear Editor: Captaining or coaching WI is an impossible job, because the real “bunglers” stay hidden

“[…] No matter how poorly the [West Indies] teams play, there are no consequences for the regional boards because they Read more

About Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
Want to share your thoughts with Wired868? Email us at Please keep your letter between 300 to 600 words and be sure to read it over first for typos and punctuation. We don't publish anonymously unless there is a good reason, such as an obvious threat of harassment or job loss.

Check Also

Rigues elected TTSL president by a single vote, as Edwards loses again

Guaya United business development manager Jameson Rigues was elected tonight as the new Trinidad and …


  1. Warning: Undefined variable $userid in /www/wired868_759/public/wp-content/plugins/user-photo/user-photo.php on line 114

    Referees end boycott “for the good of the game” but did not have the support of the referee fraternity.

  2. You know my problem with some journalist ,they very rare write things you want to put out but then again you always have to be mindful of agendas i guess but as quick they come ….they go out my door the same way…he wouldnt write where i did say i would would not take Keith’s approach to the female referees and referees in general…never said the women are better, my oh my shaking my head i said there are very good female referees to and spoke about this ref in perticular because of her consistency and the way she deals with players. There is no problem in saying that we have to tackle the issue about the officiating but again just like people criticize and say the players standards need to improve to and we as coaches have to take responsibility at times but to come out in public and try to disrespect the hard work some put in for the sport ,that i would not do…so please when you come to ask for a comment or to do your job please try to deliver in the manner it was given…i specifically gave you my perspective on what i thought of Mr lookloy reaction although i said he was airing the views of many about the state of officiating in football games.Again disrespecting officials in public as a player,coach,President or whatever is a no!no !…i do give referee’s a hard time because they must understand that this is our livelihood and people expect them to be at their best and to be as professional as possible to the game. Their responsibility is great and the respect we have for them suppose to be embraced…they are the defenders of the “beautiful” game for that 90+mins …you must take that job seriously and understand the consequences of bad decisions …Hopefully this will bring all parties together to keep the beautiful game at the highest level possible.

  3. Have a good Sunday and week ahead Lasana Liburd…

  4. I didn’t hear you when i was labeled a thief on this forum and many other names by others… but hey…i hear you …

  5. But i hear you… sorry for appearing to be offensive when it comes to your peeps…

  6. Because Lasana Liburd the issue here is one’s behaviour… i don’t think there’s anybody in Trinidad AND Tobago who will disagree on the views of the state of officiating in TNT… Nobody. The issue of one’s attitude will be repeated over and over because therein lies the problem. You however just get defensive of the individual as opposed to even trying to help him… I didn’t hear you when I commended him on the values he CAN add to football if not for his attitude… i didn’t hear you when i talked about his vast knowledge of the game but hey… i hear you now… if a friend cannot tell a friend of his shortcomimgs then he’s no friend

  7. Just a reminder Earl Mango Pierre and Bass Cleff that the group is not supposed to be about personal attacks eh. I’ve no problem with disagreeing and Carlos Lee has done that in a pretty constructive manner on this topic, for instance.
    But if you all just toss personal attacks every time Look Loy posts, that doesn’t come across as the most mature way to carry on a conversation. Even worse, when “All Caps” are added.
    Disagreement is fine but it will be hard to differentiate that from trolling if you just keep repeating the same thing over and over whenever you see a post from someone you have an issue with.

  8. He needs to return to the back office the same when meh corrupted Jack Warner sent him there because of that same madman kind of behavior eh where he wasn’t seen nor heard but continue to organize the football in our sweet country eh, and could you imagine that he will be going up to be the next president of the corrupted TTFA eh. Them really good yes. steeuuppss

  9. Earl Jean behaviour is NEVER half as atrocious… officiating has always always been piss poor not other coaches’ behaviour CONSISTENTLY. Nobody is disagreeing referring is horrible but reactions consistently to match such officiating is NOT going to help football if we say that’s what we want to do… NOBODY IS DISAGREEING WITH YOU. Your behaviour is what ppl are disagreeing with… GET IT FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!!

  10. ….Let the referees boycott Prisons and W Connection now..

  11. Well written letter by the way… “former mayor from ARIMA”.

  12. We can deem the referees’ decision wrong, high-handed, immature etc and whilst I too agree and I too believe that referees’
    decisions do change the whole outcome of a game, I surely do hope that their actions also teach people a dam good lesson. As the saying goes “out of every bad cometh good”? Well let’s hope a “good” lesson comes out of this to this run away disrespectful individual.

  13. ..But not in Trini. Here, is hush yuh mouth or else..

  14. “We have never heard of any disciplinary action taken against referees and umpires due to their bad decisions.” The mayor I assume is talking about refereeing in T&T because this happens everywhere even after the Haiti game. The referee was banned for life. Are the performances of referees in T&T evaluated after every game. I played in a rec league in NASA and we introduced what I hope happens in major league soccer everywhere, a form which evaluated many areas of a referee’s performance. At the end of the season, referees are evaluated based on those performance appraisals. Leagues are also rated based on quality. Where there is a consensus about certain weaknesses, those referees are sent for retraining and given assignments at other lower rated leagues. The top leagues then get the best or better referees. Of course, the lower rated leagues get the worse.

  15. When my son was five I registered him for intramural soccer in the U.S. The first practice I took him too, unlike most parents I stayed to watch the practice session. Immediately I realized the folks who had volunteered to coach were clueless, most because they were parents who never played the game but in the interests of the kids, they agreed to coach the teams. I went down to the “coaches” and asked would you like some help setting up “fun” skill drills for the kids and the “coaches” agreed. At seven he moved to County and by that time I gave up recreational football because the game was growing fast and coaches were in short supply. I was asked to coach one of the teams and I agreed. I approached an ex national footballer who I played rec league with to enlist his help. He turned me down. He had no interest in giving back to the kids what so many coaches gave to him freely at that time. Today I ask the same question of the critics. With so much more football being played and with so little knowledgeable people refereeing who know and played the game, who among you ex-footballers are willing to step up and do the job, with all its stressful consequences for the benefit of the game. Having played the game, one of the most positive aspects of refereeing the game is knowing the intangibles of the game, the aspects only you as a former player would understand. But above all, you would understand the emotions involved having played the game, and not maybe overreact in situations where someone who never played, might. And that in no way is a judgment statement of what happened with Keith Look Loy, because I do not know what happened.

  16. Talk to them in dulcet, sonorous tones… or they’ll literally take their ball and go home.

  17. Players, coaches, trams get energy from emotion, they try to feed off the crowd also.

    So emotions will be highest the more at stake. If you are not ready to deal with that you have the wrong job.

    What would you do when a stadium of 15000 is against you, go home and tell your mommy?

    Act like adults and do your job.

  18. Didn’t have to read the article to agree with this…. it’s an absurd impasse…. disciplinary action was taken you are to show up and do your job in a manner that is unbiased. . It is ridiculous. Do the right thing show up for the game. Pettiness in the sport solves nothing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.