None But The Most Efficient Referees Should Be Selected

Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner


The Referees' Council of the Jamaica Football Association has now its job cut out in the matter of selecting the referees who will handle the series of matches of the coming inter-Colonial football tournament—a matter which, there can be no doubt, has been causing some concern.

Frankling speak, I do agree with the universal contention of football fans and players alike that wwe have but a really few capable referees from a practical view-point. I would not for a moment, however, say that our referees have not all been doing their very best, even although there have been instances when for want of experience their ability seemed doubtful.

The two main features lacking in the greater number of our referees are: first, they will not keep up with the ball, and secondly, wrongly or rightly, they are not firm in their decisions. Now, the point in the making of a good referee is to stick to his decision. A referee is by no means infallible but to gain the respect of both players and spectators, it is essential that he shows no doubt in whatever decision he makes.

While a referee is very often "called down" there is one factor which seems always to be totally disregarded by the majority; and that is the assistance that should be given the referee by their lines-men. The duties of the lines-men are as important as those of the referee, the only difference is that the referee has the last word. The success of the referee's job, depends considerably on the support of the lines-men. As a matter of fact, this support has been anything but satisfactory throughout the season.

In such big competitions it is absolutely imperative that none but the


should be selected to handle the matches; and after all, I personally fail to see the wisdom of appointing more that two referees, or three at the most, to handle the series of matches.

It is quite evident that it will be the feeling of every referee that he should be given the opportunity of refereeing at least one of these matches. It is equally evident that the Referees' Council, should feel the same way about it, but I do contend that the Council would make its work more appreciated by selecting two or three good men to referee the matches satisfactorily, than to give each of their referees a match and perhaps cause dissatisfaction all around.

The fact is indisputable that despite the ability and outside experience of one or two local referees, Mr. Mike Hanna stands to-day in a class by himself. He has to his credit the reputation of handling, for a number of years most of our important senior and All-Jamaica matches. Next, in succession are the Rev. Leslie Webb, Mr. Frankie Laing and Sgt. Thompson of the Military. These four gentlemen, I claim, are about the only referees that one would possibly select for any of the matches of the tournament, and yet, I feel that so many are not necessary.

In making these passing referenced on the selection of our referees I do so without any feeling of prejudice or with any intent of casting the slightest aspersion on a single referee's ability; but to voice the sentiments of a large circle of fans and players of local football. I do so not only in the interest of the public but also that of the Football Association in bringing this tournament to a successful end.

For Trinidad to be beaten in a match in which there arises the slightest doubt on the decisions of the referee would be to our discredit; for Jamaica to be beaten similarly would not be at all gratifying to our visitors. Under the circumstances, the Referee's Council has its duty to select its best referees, disregarding personal feeling, colour or creed.