Efforts to increase referee numbers

Barbados does not have enough quality football referees, says referees’ manager at the Barbados Football Association (BFA), Mark Forde.

Forde made this statement against the background of eight Barbadian referees being appointed to the FIFA list for 2015. Among these is newcomer Shannon Gibson who has been put on the list as an assistant referee, along with Clifton Garnes, Trevor Taylor, Gillian Martindale, Adrian Skeete and Adrian Goddard.

Young upcoming female referee Shannon Gibson was among those who participated in the course. (Picture by Morissa Lindsay).
Young upcoming female referee Shannon Gibson was among those who participated in the course. (Picture by Morissa Lindsay).

“As it stands we do not have enough quality referees coming through that we can put more people on the FIFA list but we are hoping that over the next three to four years we can identify some younger referees that are coming into the system, fast track them as referees and hope by 2015, 2016 we would be able to increase the number of referees on all the lists including men and women,” Forde told Barbados TODAY

Apart from Martindale who is the most talked about female referee on the island, Gibson is the only other female referee Barbados has had on the FIFA list and Forde said he would like to see younger people getting involved in refereeing, especially females.

“Our aim is to get referees to officiate in all the tournaments we participate in. We do women football and we would really like to have some more women referees coming through. Our association is not attracting the younger referees and we want to attract younger referees to take up the role of refereeing so they would have a longer time on the FIFA list,” he said.

Forde also noted that they were behind their projections as it related to getting more appointed FIFA referees on the list.

“Presently we have two male referees and we at this stage would have liked to put three or four male referees on the FIFA list. At this point we only have two male [assistant referees] and we would have liked to have five assistant referees on the list. So we are behind our projection but as it stands we want to put quality and not quantity.”

The BFA is seeking to introduce beach football and futsal and going forward, as part of the association’s developmental program, Forde said they would be seeking to train referees particularly in those disciplines in order to get persons on the FIFA list in those two sports. “Our aim is to get people to referee in World Cup games and over the next five years we want at least one of our male or female referees officiating in the FIFA World Cup,” he explained.

In addition he said they were hopeful that the referees’ course which is conducted twice every year would produce 20 referees or more.

Gibson, who participated in the programme, told Barbados TODAY it was truly a humbling feeling for her and she intended to keep working hard in order to get to the next level which was to actually referee a FIFA game.

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