FOUL! - Referee no-show forces cancellation of Tivoli vs Waterhouse
The Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) match between struggling Tivoli Gardens FC and leaders Waterhouse FC was cancelled yesterday, as a reported strike action by match officials took its toll.
Only two match officials - fourth official Ohara Headley and Assistant Referee Joshua Jackson — were on hand at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex for the scheduled 3:00 pm kick-off.
Referee Weston Costly and first Assistant Referee Jassett Kerr were absent up to the point when Match Commissary Elaine Walker-Brown, in consultation with both teams, called the game off at 3:20 pm.
“At the time of the game only two referees were present, and I spoke with the head of the JFF referees and they said they had gotten two and sent them on their way,” Walker-Brown explained.
“But the coaches have decided that they would go up to 3:20 because there is no light at the venue. We did not see the referees arrive before 3:20, so they decided that they will not play the game,” she added.
When it was obvious that the game would not be played irate fans moved menacingly towards the gate, demanding a refund of their entrance fee; and it took the intervention of police personnel to prevent what could have been a nasty situation as the man who collected money at the game was forced to make a hasty retreat to escape the forming mob.
But after the game was called off another match official could be seen hustling her way into the venue in what turned out to be a vain attempt to salvage the game.
But when it became evident that the day's fotball programme — from a referee perspective — would not proceed as normal, the Jamaica Football Federation Referees' Committee went into contengency mode and replacements for four other games yesterday were found, averting a total shutdown of yesterday's fixtures of the RSPL.
Carvel Stewart, the vice-president of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), said his organisation is not at fault as they have made the necessary payment.
“In terms of payment, we made the requirement, but maybe it was not paid early enough by the other parties to them,” said Stewart.
“But they need to stop it; they are embarrassing Jamaica's football. Did you know that every week Jamaica's results and tables are put up on FIFA's site? You not only embarrassing we, you embarrassing Jamaica and yourself,” he noted.
Efforts to reach officials of the referees grouping proved futile yesterday.
Despite their inactivity, Waterhouse remained on top of the league with 33 points, but Tivoli Gardens slipped a spot to the bottom of the 12-team table with 12 points.
Over the years the referees, for one reason or another, mainly over fees, have taken strike action which often manifests itself in their failure to show up for games.
Meanwhile, Molynes United's haemorrhaging continued under new Coach Calvert Fitzgerald, as they lost 0-1 to Humble Lion at Effortville Community Centre.
It was their seventh loss in their last nine games after winning their first six games on the trot and leading the tables. But they have dropped two more places to sixth with 20 points, and when the 15th round of games are all completed they could find themselves further down the ladder.
Jermaine Christian netted for Humble Lion in the 43rd minute as they climbed into fourth spot on 22 points.
At the Wembley Centre of Excellence, home team Vere United and The University of the West Indies (UWI) battled to a 0-0 draw in a result that barely helped both teams in their relegation dogfight. UWI are 10th with 13 points, while Vere are 11th with 12 points.