Match officials raise standards

The Cayman Islands Football Association is looking to recruit more match officials as the sport continues to flourish locally.

Youth football is particularly growing locally, as witnessed by the big tournament this week involving two Cayman teams and Swindon Town’s youth side from the U.K., as well as the Houston Dynamo Academy from Texas. Primary school games include more girls than ever before.

The football association recently sent five local officials for a FIFA match commissioners’ training course in Miami.

Mark Campbell, Kennedy Kelly, Sarah Jennifer Powery, Andrea Thompson and Martha Godet attended a one-day seminar in the United States, along with more than 90 officials from the CONCACAF region.

The seminar reviewed match commissioners’ roles and responsibilities and discussed new strategies and educational programs, including crisis management, anti-discrimination and techniques to combat match manipulation.

“The seminar came at a perfect time,” said Campbell. “With the FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia qualifying rounds about to begin, it provided a clear perspective of what FIFA wants from match commissioners.”

“CIFA is committed to improving standards across the board,” said CIFA first vice-president Bruce Blake. “Our match commissioners play a critical role football’s administration.”

Blake expressed confidence in the ability of the participants to transfer the knowledge passed on by Gordon Savic, FIFA’s head of World Cup and Olympic qualifying, into local competitions.

“CIFA is fortunate to have capable and committed administrators, and we trust that they will continue to deliver their duties to best in class standards in domestic football,” said Blake.

He encouraged anyone involved with local clubs to get involved as match commissioners. “The benefits of becoming a match commissioner are numerous. A good match commissioner can be appointed to CONCACAF and FIFA matches and get the opportunity to travel the world.”

Campbell also endorsed the advantages of giving time to the beautiful game in this role. “If you are currently associated with a club or in football at some level, CIFA provides opportunity to take your involvement to the highest level,” he said.

The main functions of match commissioners are to carry out joint inspection of the playing field prior to the start of a game, liaise with security personnel on stadium and team security strategies and ensure the match runs on time and is accurately completed.

They also have to submit team sheets prior to the start as well as submitting detailed post-match reports.

Anyone interested should contact the Cayman Islands Football Association at 949-5775.