A FIFA Referee Assistance Programme (RAP) course was conducted in TT from November 26-30 for 21 of the top referees locally at the VIP Lounge of the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo. FIFA conducts one of these RAP courses every year in each of its Member Associations (MA), providing top FIFA Instructors for each course.
The FIFA personnel sent here were: Lionel Leal-Bermudez, FIFA Referee Technical Instructor from Costa Rica, and Kalisha Antoine, FIFA Referee Physical Instructor from Antigua.
There were 18 referees from Trinidad and three from Tobago. The local MA instructors that conducted lecture sessions and field activities for the course were Michael Ragoonath, Jaggernauth Goolcharan, Mentor Baptiste(Tobago), Joseph Taylor and Julien Drayton. These local Instructors attended A FIFA Futuro III Workshop in Costa Rica in September which prepared them to deliver instruction sessions for this RAP course. The local MA delivered most of the sessions for the course with the FIFA Instructors delivering on some critical topics and generally supervising. The course started at 6am on the Monday with the referee participants undergoing the FIFA referees fitness test. During the course, all of the main issues involved in the interpretation and application of the laws of the game and in the physical fitness of the referees were covered.
The TT FIFA referees that participated were Crystal Sobers, Cecile Hinds, Carissa Douglas(Tobago), Rodphin Harris, Ainsley Rochard, Joseph Bertrand, and Caleb Wales.
The course was organized by the Referees Department of the TTFA headed by Wayne Caesar, with critical inputs from members of the Referees Committee of the TTFA and the TT Football Referees Association (TTFRA) – Joseph Taylor (Chairman TTFA Referees Committee and President TTFRA), Osmond Downer (Advisor/Consultant to the Referees Department), Boni Bishop (General Secretary TTFRA), and Notoya Byron-Frection (Secretary of the Referees Committee).
The course was officially declared open by Ewing Davis, Vice-President of the TTFA, on the Monday, and concluded on the Friday with the President of the TTFA, David John Williams delivering the closing address.
In his address, John-Williams exhorted the participants to strive to put TT back on the refereeing map as this country once boasted the leading referees in the Caribbean and CONCACAF (Len Jardin, George Cumberbatch, Osmond Downer, Errol Forbes, Ramesh Ramdhan, Douglas James, Merere Gonzales, Michael Ragoonath, Joseph Taylor, Boni Bishop, Lynda Bramble-Thompson, Shayne De Silva,Cassie Moore, and Cindy Mohammed). He also promised that next year, the RAP course will be held in the conference room of the Home of Football in Couva, with the participants staying at its hotel.
John-Williams closed proceedings by handing out Certificates of Participation.