Barbados Football Association reaches into schools to bolster the referee ranks

Published on 08 November 2019

In a classic case of need meets ingenuity, the Barbados Football Association (BFA) turned to secondary schools to find the next crop of referees.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (November 8, 2019) – Thirty-one secondary school students are today taking exams that will determine if they will make the grade to become the newest crop of referees in Barbados, qualified to officiate in the NextPlay tournament carded for November 22 with finals on December 6 and the Barbados Schools’ Football Program.

The students were selected from secondary schools across the island for a three-day training course, a joint initiative of the BFA and Concacaf.

BFA Referee Manager Mark Forde, at the opening of the course earlier this week, said the concept is to build the capacity of a new crop of referees whilst filling a void.

“We partnered with the Secondary Schools’ Football League because the idea is that as you graduate from the Referees Program and become full-fledged referees and you are still in the school system that we will appoint the referees coming out of this program to officiate school football,” Forde said.

He told the students that opportunities exist for young referees, and he assured them of the unequivocal support of the BFA Referee’s Committee.

The groundbreaking program both empowers youngsters and addresses the dearth in officials, Chairman of the Barbados Football Association’s Referee’s Committee Barney Callender noted.

 “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,” Callender told the referee prospects.

It is envisaged that the program – the first of its kind – will become an annual staple.

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