BFA launch Referee Academy
The Bermuda Football Association yesterday launched a referees academy for young officials aspiring to rise to the next level both local and overseas.
Tashun Simons, who is already on the Fifa list, is a part of the academy along with Lloyd Christopher who was last weekend voted Referee of the Year for the 2019-2020 season.
The academy was launched at the Police Club yesterday, a proud moment for Crenstant Williams, the BFA’s second vice-president and chairman of the referees committee, who announced the formation of the academy.
“In 2012 I volunteered to become the BFA’s referees committee chairman and as a new person didn’t have an idea what refereeing was all about,” Williams said.
“However, being an educator you just jump right in and learn as you go,”
“It became an issue when I realised that refereeing is not viewed in Bermuda in a positive light, and then years of being told by then president Larry Mussenden that every time he went to a Fifa congress that we don’t have anybody on the Fifa list.
“Eventually we had a RAP [referee assistance programme] and from that RAP course things changed. It was put in perspective that our referees were unfit and weren’t training properly.
“From then we got a chance to send two young men to the under-15 championships in Florida, Antoine Augustus and Tashun Simons.
“Then Lyndon Raynor, Anthony Francis, Garic Swainson and Martin Wyer came on board and from there Mr Simons became a Fifa AR [Assistant referee], the highlight of the referees committee.
“From there somebody came back and said ‘okay, you have one person, you need more, how are you going to achieve that?’ Then the idea of an academy came about.”
After Williams contacted an official in Bahamas, where they have a similar programme, the academy idea began to develop.
“Today, September 3, 2020 we can now say officially that we now have the Bermuda Football Association referees academy,” Williams added.
“At present we have 13 members, some are young, some a mixture of referees who want to become referees for First Division and Premier Division and others who aspire to go on the Fifa list.
“The purpose of the academy is to ensure that we have officials who will transition to the Fifa list to join Tashun.
“Last year we had three persons who went to the under-15s tournament, Quinton Hayward, Stefan Maybury and Alana King, but unfortunately Covid knocked that on the head this year.
“We have other youngsters who aren’t here today who are a part of the academy and it is our hope that the academy will go from strength to strength.”
As he handed out training gear to the academy members, Williams reminded that they “needed to train and be at training consistently.”
Three of the up and coming referees, Amaury Majors, Adriel Charles and Mateo Donawa are all inspiring to be either a referee or assistant referee on the Fifa list.
“At a later date everybody in the academy will have to sign an agreement agreeing to everything the academy stands for,” Williams said. “They have to come to training and learn the laws of the game.
“The objective of this academy is to produce referees who will transition to doing international matches for Bermuda.
“The last on the list was Mr Simons who came on the list in 2017, before that it was 14 years since the last person was on the list and we’re trying to bridge that gap.
“We have a young lady, Natasha Trott, who just started with us who has made it clear she wants to go on a Fifa list and she has become part of the academy.”
Williams added: “I’m sorry [former BFA official] Gregory Grimes is not here, this was something I know he wanted to see. Rest in peace Mr Grimes, he was my mentor.”
Grimes, a former referee and long time BFA administrator, passed away in December 2016.
Mark Wade, president of the BFA spoke of his pride at seeing the Associations latest development.
“I am extremely proud of this particular development and looking forward to its fruits in the very near future.”
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