Sobers, Hinds named on Fifa’s referees list for new ‘gender-neutral’ officiating era

Referees Crystal Sobers and Cecile Hinds were selected on Fifa’s list of international referees for 2021, as the governing body enters a new era of ‘gender-neutral’ officials—which means that there is no longer a women’s category and female officials can be deployed in men’s competitions.

Sobers and Hinds can therefore expect to be utilised for the Qatar 2022 Men’s World Cup qualifying competition, which kicks off in March, and possibly for the July 2021 Concacaf Men’s Gold Cup tournament.

Photo: QRC goalkeeper Jacques Poon-Lewis (right) and Naparima goalkeeper Levi Fernandez take the toss from referee Crystal Sobers before kick off on the final 2019 SSFL Premier Division match day at Serpentine Road on 4 November.
(Copyright Kerlon Orr/CA-images/Wired868)

Sobers, a former Bishop’s Anstey East High School and Arima Senior Comprehensive resident, finished second in a poll for Concacaf Women’s Referees of the Year in 2019.

Caleb Wales, Evelyn Carissa Douglas-Jacob and Ainsley Rochard were selected on Fifa’s list of assistant referees and are also eligible for international competition in 2021.


The officials were all nominated by the TTFA and were required to be at least 25 years old (23 years old in the case of assistant referees) on 1 January of the year for which they had been nominated.

Referees above the age of 45 can be obliged to undergo additional technical assessments as well as specific medical examinations and fitness testing on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of Fifa.

The Fifa referees committee is chaired by Italian Pierluigi Collina, who officiated in the 2002 World Cup final between Brazil and Germany.

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)

Each candidate for an international spot is ranked based on marks from matches at national level during the 12 months prior to their nomination, and, at a minimum, must pass a Fifa-approved fitness test and medical examination—on or before 2 June 2020.

Fifa’s video match officials are not required to take fitness tests.

The match officials apart, Trinidad and Tobago has two persons serving on Fifa committees at present. Former TTFA president David John-Williams is on Fifa’s players’ status committee while former World Cup 2006 captain Dwight Yorke is on the development committee.

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