Sports Editor's Diary

L. D. Roberts
Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

A great shame

WHAT HAPPENED at the National Stadium last week Wednesday night when scores of people swarmed the field after Jamaica equalized in the closing minutes of the game with Trinidad could not have occurred if proper arrangements had been made for the control of the crowd.

It was a disgraceful scene, and while I blame my over enthusiastic Jamaicans for that display I am sure it would not have happened if they did not have easy access to the playing area.

On Wednesday night many season ticket holders were denied a proper view of the match as scores of persons who were sold tickets for the grandstand could not find any seats and had to stand and block the view of others.

That swarming onto the field and the near brawl in the Haiti-Netherlands Antilles match on Thursday painted a sorry picture to a series which had started on such a happy and friendly note.

Irrespective of sending off the two guilty parties (one from each team) I blame referee Ralph Bardowell for not blowing off the match when it took on the ugly appearance with team managers and reserves rushing on the field. Language barrier or what have you that 10-minute hold-up was nothing more than a show of disregard for the referee's ruling. For no matter what language you speak, when a referee touches you and points to the sideline he can only mean that you must leave the field.

The whole exhibition was a great shame. And the suspension of both players for one international each is hardly an adequate punishment.

The response cf the football public has been poor and one sided. The matches played by Jamaica were well supported, but the matches by other countries were poorly attended. In one match only about 500 people were at the National Stadium to watch it. It makes one wonder whether Jamaicans are as sport loving as they are made out to be.