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Under siege

The Barbados Football Association (BFA) is moving to clamp down on spectators and footballers assaulting referees during matches played across the island.

Referees manager of the BFA Mark “Bob” Forde admitted to Barbados TODAY that some referees faced major challenges when they officiated games and that assaults on them had become a serious problem.

“There have been some issues of assault and verbal abuse of referees by footballers and spectators at football matches over the years and we are looking to address this matter. Indeed, there will be zero tolerance on any attacks on officials at football matches,” Forde said.

He explained that in the past some cases of assault were reported to the police but then there were no follow-up. Forde stated that in the future if a referee was assaulted the game would be called off. He said certain other measures would also be employed.

Forde, who was appointed to the post of referees manager on December 1, 2012, described his first year in office as exciting.

His appointment came as a result of a mandate by
FIFA that all referees bodies worldwide be placed under the control of local associations.

Among his duties are to classify referees in each category on the basis of their performance in selected matches and propose promotions or demotions. He also has to appoint referees to matches in competitions organised by the BFA
or any other tournaments, whenever requested to do so. Forde also nominates candidates for the international list who are eligible to officiate at international matches according to FIFA regulations governing the registration of international referees, assistant referees, futsal referees and beach soccer referees on FIFA’s list.

Forde said that during his first year in office the number of referees on the island had increased from 44 to 85 including 12 females. In addition he has also organised several workshops for referees.

“Referees in this era must be fit and must be aware of all aspects of the game, during the past year I have organised workshops on nutrition, sports psychology and the laws of

the game,” Forde, a former FIFA referee of 20 years standing said.

He pointed out that there was a vast number
of opportunities available for people who were interested in being referees and the BFA had established several programmes that were intended to make young Barbadians interested in becoming footfall referees.

“We have implemented a fast track program for local referees. As a result of this programme a referee now has the opportunity to become a FIFA referee or an assistant referee in a short time. This gives them the opportunity to travel the world and supervise one of the most popular sports in the world,” Forde said.

He disclosed that because of the upsurge in women’s football on the island several females were becoming referees and among them was Gillian Martindale who also officiated in the Premier League and refereed several matches in the Under-17 World Cup last year and was on the short list for the Women’s World Cup in Canada.

Forde said he had enjoyed his first year in his new job.

“I am working to help develop a game that I love, it is my role to improve standards of refereeing on the island and produce referees who will make the FIFA list. The first year was great I am eagerly looking forward to the second year,” Forde noted.

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