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BFA facing fresh referee crisis as trio quit

Decline in numbers: Lyndon Raynor, left, and Augustus are one of the few referees left in Bermuda (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The referees committee of the Bermuda Football Association is on a mission to attract new referees to the game after the departure of three experienced officials from their ranks just a month before the start of the new season.

Crenstant Williams, chairman of the referees committee, revealed yesterday that Ronue Cann and Anthony Mouchette are both stepping down while Elihu Holmes, a policeman, is returning to Jamaica. All are level 1 referees and will leave a big hole in the ranks of the island’s referees.

“We need some more people because we’re still in a crisis in terms of referees,” Williams said. The Bermuda Referees Association will hold a referee course from August 17 to 21 at CedarBridge Academy and BFA Field.

“It’s still about people saying ‘I want to come out and hold a whistle or hold a flag, to try to help improve the standard,” he said. “Ronue Cann is stepping down to focus on the fitness part because he is one of our Fifa fitness instructors.

“Mouchette is finished completely now, I managed to get him to come out and help last year but he says that’s it now. We have some youngsters who have been covering youth games and they’ve been coming to training which started on July 4 on Mondays at BFA Field. We’re hopeful they’ll come out and learn the law changes and on the course we can manage to get new people to fill the gaps.

“I make an appeal to the congress every year to get the clubs to send a minimum of two people who can be trained as assistant referees but somehow that’s not been happening.”

The BRA is reaching out to youngsters as young as sixteen to start with youth games. “That’s the recommendation that Fifa gave to my committee, to start them young,” Williams said.

“You have to be a minimum of 23 to go on the Fifa list as an assistant referee and 25 as a referee.” Bermuda will have two assistant referees, Antoine Augustus and Tashun Simons, travelling to Orlando this weekend to officiate in the Concacaf Under-15 Girls Championships, where Bermuda will be one of the 22 competing countries.

The team, under coach Naquita Robinson, will leave on August 9 and play their first match on August 11. The tournament runs until August 21.

Williams is proud of the two officials for being given the opportunity to showcase their talent on the international stage.

“It has been at least 15 years since a Bermudian official has been selected to partake in an international competition,” said Williams, referring to Mouchette, Lyndon Raynor and Stuart Crockwell who were previously on the list.

“One of the goals of the referees committee is to have a minimum of two people on the Fifa list so this is definitely a step in the right direction.

“Hopefully this opportunity can lead to other persons locally becoming officials and emulating them. I am confident that both young men will represent Bermuda to the best of their ability and start the rebirth of having international officials on island.

“There is a shortage of officials here on the island and we encourage anyone who cares about football on the island to contact the BFA office and register for the upcoming referee course.”

The course will be held from 5.30 to 9.30pm from the Wednesday to Friday and 9.30am to 3.30pm on the Saturday and Sunday.