It's a woman's world - Female refs making their mark in Jamaican football
Chairman of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Referee Committee Patrick Malcolm says that huge benefits now on offer is one of the driving forces behind the influx of female referees into the sport.
Malcolm told The Gleaner that a lot more females are now getting involved in the game because they are aware of the opportunities that may arise from it.
"We play a lot more women football now, and a lot more people are sensitised. More people are aware of the benefits of the sport and what they can contribute to the sport," said Malcolm.
"I remember at one time, we wouldn't play any women's football, and at one time, the JFF put it on the back burner, and we were punished [hard] for it," he said.
"However, the JFF has decided that won't happen again, and so there needs to be people to officiate in the sport, and so a lot more women were introduced to the game," Malcolm said.
He added that football's world-governing body, FIFA, would be very happy if only women officiated in women's football because there is a lot more women's football being played around the world now.
"You do have some men officiating in the women's game, but that may be the drive why more women are joining the ranks now because of the amount of women's football that is being played in Jamaica now," said Malcolm.
He stated that the ratio of men to women referees is eight to two, but he expects this figure to change rapidly in the coming years because he is expecting a lot more female referees to come into the sport.
"They are referees and assistant referees, and so it is not like the police force, where you have a woman corporal. We are not too concerned whether they are women or men, and so throughout the country, they (female referees) do participate in male games, and males do participate in the female games," Malcolm said.
NOMINATED FOR CONCACAF AWARD
Jamaica currently has five FIFA referees and assistants in total, including Odette Hamilton, who has been nominated for the CONCACAF Female Referee of the Year award.
Malcolm pointed out that this is a huge achievement for the development of the female referees across the island.
"I am over the moon, and I am very excited that she has been nominated as one of the 10 best referees in CONCACAF!" said Malcolm. "We, in Jamaica, we are happy to see this happening, and what we want to do now is to win this award."
"We have always been among the top group in CONCACAF as much as we have bitten our own people in Jamaica over and over. When our referees perform, they perform at the highest level, and they do extremely well," Malcolm stated.