Refs penalised for 'officiating concerns'
REFEREE Valdin Ledgister, who was at the centre of the controversy over a penalty issue in a Red Stripe Premier League football match between Harbour View and Waterhouse at Harbour View on Sunday, March 11, has been taken off front-line duties for a period not exceeding three weeks.
As a consequence Ledgister, who holds a FIFA referee's badge, will not be officiating at the CONCACAF Olympic Men's Qualifying Final Round in the United States, as his appointment has been cancelled. The tournament begins later this week.
The disciplinary action was taken by the Jamaica Football Federation Referees Commission (JFFRC) on Saturday in light of " ... recent developments and concerns with respect to officiating at local games", according to a JFF release.
In the match in question, Ledgister had awarded a penalty then changed his decision following a near 10-minute delay. The referee had consulted with his fellow officials twice before changing his decision.
During the stoppage, Ledgister was forced to send off Waterhouse's Hugh Howell, who protested against the decision by sitting on the penalty spot. Other players protested and one, Waterhouse striker Jermaine Anderson, even embraced the referee while arguing the call.
On two occasions, spectators also threw objects on to the playing field in the vicinity of the penalty area, where the referee and players had gathered.
The release also said Ledgister will be put on probation.
"During this period he will undergo remedial work to include refresher exercise in game management. Mr Ledgister will be subject to a thorough evaluation at the end of his remedial programme," the release said.
It added: "Mr. Ledgister will be put on three months' probation on his return to active duties."
The Commission also suspended referee Kevin Morrison for 30 days and reinstated another, Kevin Thomas.
"Kevin Morrison has been suspended for 30 days for gross indiscretion. The JFFRC will continue to monitor his attitude and behaviour during this period and at the end of which he will be placed on three months' probation," the release advised.
In relation to Thomas, it said: "Kevin Thomas, who was taken off front-line duties for the past month, was cleared to resume duties. The JFFRC met with referee Thomas and is satisfied that he has successfully completed a period of retrospection, analysis and refresher exercise and is now better prepared for his assignments. He will serve a three-month probationary period. His removal from front-line duties followed the 2012 Jackie Bell Knock Out semi-finals between Tivoli Gardens FC and Arnett Gardens FC.