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The dangers referees face

Friday, April 27, 2018

The recent incident which occurred in La Brea seemed to have sent shivers through parents, players, spectators and even the citizens who do not even go to football. I have often tried to separate the various acts of crime in our country in order to reduce the fear which our people are experiencing throughout the country.

However, how does one explain last week’s incident which was done to the referee, Michael London, whose desire to serve the country’s sport has led him towards a near-death situation while attempting to do his best. This is not the first time and we must bear this in mind.

Our administrators in every league or association, under the umbrella Association, have failed to understand the importance of having security around the playing fields, especially the open community fields where the crowds line the sidelines as close as being able to touch the players at times. Funnily enough, this may well be a shocking example of our behaviour when we compare the supporters in the fifties, sixties, onward to seventies who turned up in thousands to attend a football match in the grand (Queen’s Park) savannah, or the Arima Velodrome, or the popular community fields or anywhere for that matter. I have not have the misfortune of seeing any kind of violence regardless of the sometimes flaring of tempers for short periods during a match.

What we are experiencing is a serious situation which could be good reasons for fans to decide against going to see football. Parents who follow the performances of their children and grandchildren, have already been drawing the attention of the coaches to the horrible behaviour coming from fans and players as well. Some have actually stopped their kids from playing in competitions at school level and even community levels.

I understand the abnormal faculties which cause players to be temporarily angry over what they may have experienced by a tough/rough tackle but the treasures of give-and-take in the process of sport are the ingredients which make sportsmen and women. It would be fair to blame the managers and coaches of these teams. It may also cause the young players to act irresponsibly on varying issues in life, which take that type of behaviour into every aspect of their lives. The corrective process is complicated, regardless of whether we point fingers at parents, players or even school teachers.

However, in sport, especially football, the T&T Football Association (TTFA) must accept the responsibility for putting a machinery into place so that the players can feel safe, the referees as well and most of all, any improvement of this behaviour will increase the attendance of spectators around the playing fields. I wish to suggest that if any club official, coach or manager find themselves in these situations, (yes there are bad eggs at that level sometimes), the lessons for the affiliated clubs, schools, or even community leagues will be, to refuse to take the field unless a security officer is around.

The police have a responsibility to protect and serve the people of this country. No one said that it must be on a busy day, a huge entertainment show, or a day on the beach. I have always been told by my elders, that to correct a serious problem in life, is to correct it immediately and without any form of temporary or gradual transition.

It was a sad day for football in La Brea and I humbly apologise to referee London for the injuries inflicted on him. However, forgive them


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