We don’t know: Head of referees association thinks corps will be ready despite non-inclusion

Referees will face a tough challenge given the decision to increase the top flight by six teams (file photo)

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By Neto Baptiste

Although not yet aware of the structure of a 16-team Premier League, the President of the Antigua and Barbuda Association of Football Referees (ABFRA), Oliver Josephbelieves that those responsible will be ready when the time comes.

“We had less time to prepare in the past and we managed to do that. I hope that we will have some sort of discussion with the ABFA on this as soon as possible so that we can reach an amicable solution,” he said.

Joseph was speaking to the sports program Good Morning Jojo at the time when he revealed that the body had not been involved in any discussions with the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) or the head of the newly formed referee department, Kelesha Antoine, regarding the format and manpower required for the 2022/23 domestic season.

“We need to know first from the ABFA how they are going to structure the leagues, whether everyone will play everyone or if they are going to put them in zones, then we would be able to say whether or not we have the number of referees for the different divisions I don’t know if they discussed it with the referees committee at the time or with the referees department because the referees association, in the past, was in charge of all those things but now we are more of a union than running the day-to-day business of the referees,” the official said.

Regardless of the failure to communicate between the FA and the referees, Joseph said his members were preparing for any eventuality.

“Currently we still have ongoing training, ongoing lessons and recruitment, but these people would not be up to the task of refereeing in the Premier League and the majority of the most qualified referees are older referees who are no longer able to to run at this pace to stay with these guys in the Premier League, so it’s going to weigh on whoever is in the Premier League, so it’s something that will have to be discussed before the start of the season, ”he said.

If the format remains the same, a 16-team Premier Division will see each side play a total of 30 games over the two-round season, 12 more than in the original 10-team competition. The First and Second Divisions were also increased by six teams.

Reports say that a proposed knockout competition will start in August and the first and second division competitions will begin in September. The Premier Division is expected to start in October.

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Andrew B. Reiter