Features — 29 April 2017 — by Kenrick Martinez – President, BDF FC
Are referees above the law?

PRICE BARRACKS, LADYVILLE, Thurs. Apr. 27, 2017–Football in Belize has a rich history, whereby those who are fanatics of this sport would agree that fans, sponsors, referees, clubs, and players are losing the love for the sport. This is evident at football games, that if one should compare the fans at games now, you would wonder why such drastic changes. Several factors may contribute to this “lack of love,” but is incompetent match officials an issue?

Based on my first year as a manager of a football club, I noticed and pointed out several ways in which we can improve the Premier League of Belize (PLB). It must be mentioned that some points are taken into consideration, while others are just ignored. The frustrating part is that the PLB Disciplinary Board tends to meet based on their convenience. Case in point: Last year Opening Season, they did not meet to address (Bandits) Elroy Kuylen’s red card, and he was allowed to play the 2nd leg at Belmopan for the final game vs BDF FC. This year, (BDF) Darrol Lambey received a red card during the BDF FC vs Police United game; and the Disciplinary Committee met, and their recommendation and sanction are ridiculous.

Managers from numerous clubs stated that some of the officials who were appointed for their home-and-away football games made some incomprehensible errors during the games. On the other hand, one must acknowledge when the referee does an excellent job. Despite not giving the (obvious) penalty during the Bandits vs BDF FC game, I still shook the referee’s (Mr. Jones) hand after the game, due to this is my usual modus operandi. I am still trying to digest the penalty call which earned Bandits SC their first goal in the Opening Season Finals dated 31st December, 2016. In order to prevent such reoccurrence of bad calls, below are couple recommendations given to the PLB, and it is sad that none of these recommendations were taken into consideration.

1. Implement 2 additional officials, one at each goal post, similar to UEFA Champions League.
2. Have referee being sanctioned or salary deduction when bad calls are made.
3. Have additional incentive for referees after they executed a good game.
4. Referees should not tell players how they are going to call the game, and what they are going to call and not call. This can cause major problems in the game.
5. Lack of confidence is evident in the past games… Referee should be confident when making calls.

It will hurt my heart if someone does something uncalled for to a referee in Belize. In order to avoid such an incident, this problem could be addressed and rectified ASAP. One would think that being proactive is always better than reactive.

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