Referee shortage in Cayman Islands

Since Hurricane Ivan, the referee situation in the football leagues in Cayman have faced a challenge in fielding the necessary number of referees.

When the hurricane rocked Cayman nearly 12 months ago, many people left and among those were some referees registered with CIRA (Cayman Islands Referees Association).

Some others who decided to stay felt compelled to resign from their refereeing position for personal reasons. This left the officiating duties on the shoulders of the 10 referees and 15 referees assistants that currently registered with CIRA.

These 25 officials are all volunteers and dedicate their time and efforts purely for the love of the game. Referees are scheduled by CIRA who are also in charge of the recruitment, training, evaluation and promotion of referees in Cayman. Referees are paid $30 per game and assistants are given $20 which is a fee deemed reasonable to pay for any expenses incurred during their duties. As a result of the loss of referees in the association CIRA has had to schedule some refs to officiate more games than they ever would during a normal week in the season.

‘The Association is looking into ways to better recruit and retain referees,’ said Kenisha Morgan, PR and Marketing Manager for CIFA (Cayman Islands Football Association).

Another problem that occurs from time to time is inconsistency in the level of professionalism and attention that goes into every game on behalf of the referees and their assistants. Morgan confirmed that.

‘The association does from time to time receive complaints about the performance and/or punctuality of referees,’ said Morgan.

However, the options for any form of punishment are limited due to the fact that all referees are indeed volunteers. Morgan says that referees are expected to approach every game with a high standard of professionalism and due care, as they have to pass FIFA standard tests before they can even become referees. All referees must have passed at least the ‘C’ standard test for FIFA referees which is the beginner level qualification, with the ‘B’ level test gaining recipients intermediate level qualifications and the ‘A’ level test qualifying referees as advanced level officials.

What the complaints show, according to Ms. Morgan, is that there simply are not enough referees.

‘We have a shortage of referees; they are volunteers and every individual will not apply the same high standards we expect to their duties as referees,’ Morgan added.

As well as looking into more efficient ways to recruit and retain referees CIRA has brought in an experienced retired CIFA referee and assessor to evaluate the system and make suggestions on ways to improve the current situation.