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Step up! - Mixed opinions as former referees call on male counterparts to improve

Published:Tuesday | August 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Waterhouse FC players appeal a decision given by referee Odette Hamilton (right) during a Red Stripe Premier League game against FC Reno at the Drewsland Stadium on Sunday, October 1, 2017. Hamilton is regarded as one of the top referees in the league.

Former FIFA referee Charles 'Charley' Barrett believes too much emphasis is being placed on female referees, to the detriment of their male counterparts.

However, Peter Prendergast, another former FIFA referee, disagrees with his colleague's assertion, insisting women have worked hard to get to where they are and deserve the recognition they now get.

Prendergast also calls on male officials to improve as they have become complacent and have allowed the women to surpass them.

"I think we need more emphasis on the men. The are putting all the energy on the females. Before, we never had many female referees, but now they are getting too much attention.

"They have females doing men's games, even some tough games that they should give the men. I don't think females are better than the men, but they are pushing the females," Barrett said.

"They must get some men, try to do some work with them, and build them, and don't push them aside," he continued.

Barrett says females referees should primarily officiate schoolboy and parish league matches.

"I don't see anything wrong with those games. They say they don't have enough good male referees to ref the Premier League, but if more emphasis was placed on the men, we would get more male referees. Overall, the ladies are not bad, but I think we are pushing them too much, to the detriment of the good male referees," he said.




But Prendergast, a former World Cup referee, disagrees with the respected Barrett. "It's unfortunate that that is how he (Barrett) thinks. Referees get equal opportunity and equal training. It's just that females are standing out more than the men. They are making less mistakes," he said.

He noted that there is only a small panel of elite referees and sometimes they have availability issues with the match officials.

"We have a panel of referees prepared for the Premier League and they are not available at all times. We can't have the same referees for six, seven games with the same team. So if we were not satisfied that the women were able to manage the game, we wouldn't put them out there," he stated. "We have not seen where the women have done more harm than the men. They allow the women to come and take over their thing because they are not performing.

"The women are fully qualified to deal with the games, so I can't agree with that statement (by Barrett); they absolutely deserve it. Women have made errors, but none greater than the men have made. The men have gotten complacent and have allowed this gap. So it's for the men to step up, as we are not looking at men or women. We are looking at the match officials and the calibre of the officials," he said.