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BRA upset by Francis comments

Anthony Francis’ comments concerning Keith Jennings’ ban has ruffled feathers among his Bermuda Referees Association (BRA) colleagues.

Speaking in his capacity as a Bermuda Football Association (BFA) executive, Francis expressed mixed reaction over the Southampton Rangers coach’s three-year BFA-imposed ban.

“I’m both pleased and upset,” he told

The Royal Gazette earlier this week. “I am pleased because we, the football family, have taken a very serious stand against referee assaults and are glad for the support.”

However, Francis also expressed compassion over the disciplinary sanctions imposed on Jennings for assaulting referee Stephen Allen at a Premier match at Southampton Oval last month.

“While it is good we (referees) have gotten some support and punishment has been meted out, I’m also upset for the football family because we’ve lost one of our own for three years.

“This is not good for football and also not good for Southampton Rangers who have lost a key member of their football family.”

Those comments, it’s understood, have landed Francis in hot water with his BRA colleagues after he spoke publicly on Jennings’ ban without consulting with them first. His remarks, which some think condone the anti-social behaviour currently plaguing the sport, have also been condemned by his peers who had threatened to boycott officiating at Southampton Oval until security was beefed up.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear whether Southampton Rangers will appeal against Jennings’ ban and the $500 fine imposed by the BFA’s disciplinary committee.

Despite repeated attempts, club president Randy Raynor could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Tempers flared during last month’s Premier match between Rangers and Dandy Town at Southampton Oval after referee Allen awarded the visitors a late penalty that proved to be the game winner.

Jennings was found guilty of blasting the referee with the ball and hurling foul and abusive language at match officials after the final whistle had blown.

Rangers were fined for failing to control their players and fans.

Jennings, who was suspended by his club prior to his disciplinary hearing, has been replaced by interim coach Kwame Tucker.

In hot water: Top referee Anthony Francis (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published March 09, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated March 09, 2012 at 7:41 am)

BRA upset by Francis comments

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