Wade puts foot down on policy for coaches
Mark Wade, president of the Bermuda Football Association, took the affiliates to task on Thursday night at the Annual Congress Meeting over the slow response to the coach licensing policy which required clubs to have qualified ‘B' Licence coaches by the August 31 deadline.
The BFA has put into place sanctions on those clubs, in the way of fines and points deductions, for not having coaches complete the necessary qualifications.
The BFA put off imposing the fines/points deductions on the offending clubs until after the Congress meeting, with Jason Wade, president of Southampton Rangers, proposing at the meeting to have the sanctions reviewed. In a vote the motion was defeated, with six agreeing, seven against and nine abstaining.
“For the clarity of everyone the sanctions remain so the fines will have to be paid within 21 days of receipt,” the president stressed.
Wade said the coach licensing policy was intended to improve the standard of coaching within the clubs. He expressed disappointment with the response to the programme, given the year-long window provided.
“It's very disappointing that we get here a year after the policy has been introduced, that you accepted, and come to a motion to change sanctions because we missed a deadline,” the president told the affiliates. “That is very disappointing. There have been multiple opportunities for coaches to meet the requirements, and we also instituted a mentoring policy to help you move forward.
“For me the overall thing that we need to get to is being better administrators ... all of us. At this point there have been sanctions whereby some teams have been fined and some teams eligible for match forfeitures,” he told the meeting before welcoming feedback.
“Is it my understanding that the members can vote to change the policy of fines and deduction of points and to come up with different sanctions other than point deductions and fines,” Jason Wade rose to ask. “Can I put a motion forward to adjust those sanctions?
“One of the challenges is the fact that the ‘B' licence isn't held every year, it's only every two or three years so you don't actually give people the opportunity in a calendar year to get certified before the deadline.”
The BFA president clarified: “The window was actually from March 2016, and there were 24 ‘B' licence coaches, more than enough to fill the amount of teams on the island.”
Crenstant Williams, chairman of the Referees Committee, made another plea to the clubs to put forward persons to become referees as there continues to be a shortage of officials.
“I want to stress to the clubs once again that, if you can, send personnel to be trained as referees, not assistant referees,” he pleaded. “We have an abundance of people willing to holds flags on the line, but the shortage is people willing to stand in the middle.
“We held our Fifa course from August 29 to September 2 and only two people said they wouldn't mind going in the middle. We have 15, 16 and 17 year olds now on the line for First and Premier Division matches. We have six Premier Division referees and you will see the same referees doing Premier Division games.
“Until we can transition other persons to get to that level, that is just where it is and how it is. Fifa have given us some recommendations and basically have told us that our referees need to get in shape. We have taken that on and as a result referees now train Mondays and Wednesdays.”
Eleven persons completed the recent referee course, with more females coming on board as officials, raising the number to eight. It also poses another challenge, however, as Williams pointed out there are few adequate changing facilities for women at the clubs.
“One 15-year-old [female] did a Dudley Eve match and I had to ask the clubs to have adequate changing facilities,” said Williams who also called for more protection for the young officials doing youth matches.
“It is totally unfair that a ten-year-old is doing an under-seven match and is being abused by parents,” Williams stated.
“Please make sure you understand that if one of those youth referees feels intimidated for any reason and they decide to blow the whistle and pick up the ball that that is the end of the match. And you will be sanctioned!”
Some active players, such as Te'ya Lindo, Tre Ming, Casey Castle, Rakeem DeShields, Thomas Ball, Jalun Hassell, Keishon Bean and Antwan Russell, have answered the call to officiate in under-13 and under-15 matches
One of the youngest senior referees, Tashun Simons, 24, has been on the Fifa list as an assistant referee since last November and is the youngest official from Bermuda to make the list. He is also the first from Bermuda in 14 years.
Simons will officiate in the Canadian Club Championships in Saskatoon from October 2 to 8 and more overseas assignment could be coming. “We are hopeful that Simons will be selected to a Nations League match or any other tournament in the near future,” Williams said. “He's carrying all of us on his back, so when you see him, please encourage him.”
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