Chairman of the Barbados Football Association’s Referee’s Committee Barney Callender is advising 30 potential young referees not to squander the opportunity afforded them as there is a major need for young referees on the island.
He was speaking to the group of young secondary school students during the launch of the first-ever BFA’s Schools’ Referee Development Program at the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium this morning.
“The Barbados Football Association in its efforts still has to make sure that the game continues. Football is about the field, the ball, the players and a referee is a must. Presently we are not able to satisfy all of the requirements in this area. We are short in terms of our refereeing resource and we want to make an effort to deal with that situation and this is one of the efforts the Barbados Football Association in conjunction with the Referees’ Committee and the Referees’ Department have taken to increase the number of referees that we have,” he told the young prospects.
The group, which included two females, will undergo a three-day training program, under the guidance of Referees’ Manager Mark “Bob” Forde and Referees’ Instructor Trevor Taylor, in the hopes of being selected to officiate at the ongoing Scotiabank Concacaf NextPlay tournament on November 22 and December 6.
“There is a lot of football going on in the schools and we need officials. Every evening I go to pick up my daughter at Foundation School I see no referee and I feel like I would go and take the whistle and referee myself. We want to have a situation where that doesn’t exist any longer. We want a situation where we could have young fit and strong minds out there on the field of play, making good decisions as far as football is concerned. Refereeing is critical and there are a lot of benefits that you can derive from refereeing,” he said.
Callender, a former FIFA referee along with Forde, said some of the benefits they enjoyed as a referee was the opportunity to travel the world and tremendous remuneration.
“About two years ago you had to be a FIFA referee to travel and do international games. That is no longer the case. Now, the system is such that once you show promise in your association at 18, 19 and 20 [years old], you will be able to go and do games at the junior level.
“Years ago we had to wait until age 27 to get on a plane to officiate. Now at 19, they call and ask us who can officiate and is young. They don’t ask if you’re good or bad because at that stage they want to educate, nurture and guide you through. So if you all take on the responsibility of refereeing, within a year or two years you can be in St Vincent doing an Under-14 game Grenada versus St Croix or somebody,” he said, adding that Barbados had two referees to officiate at the World Cup level.
Additionally, Callender told the group that refereeing opportunities were on the rise and there for them once they stuck to and were serious about the cause.
“You’re not going to learn everything in the next three days, but it is about repetition. You keep reading the rules day after day and the Association is going to help you. We have a training system in place to help you physically on the field and technically. Within a year or so you will be able to manage the game and know the rules of the game.
“This course is more or less just wetting your feet, so don’t get despondent if you don’t learn everything within the next three days. What we want is to get you out on the field of play and it is about learning as you grow,” he said, as he advised them to start watching football games from the referee’s perspective.