GFF gears up for return to play with Refereeing Course


The Refereeing Department of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) on Monday commenced a week-long, annual FIFA Member Association Refereeing Course, a crucial milestone in the return to play that provides match officials with clear guidance and training for the proper officiating of football matches.

The top-level, intensive course, running from August 23 to August 27 at the GFF National Training Centre in Providence, features sessions from FIFA Referee Development Officer Javier Santos, FIFA Referee Instructor Peter Prendergast and FIFA Fitness Instructor Alan Brown, as well as GFF Referee Instructors Ingram Johnson and Sherwin Moore.

“It is very important to have this in-person course after more than one year that football stopped because of the pandemic,” FIFA’s Santos said.

“We need to see the referees on the field of play and their fitness capacity. We came here to test the referees and to find new talent for the many future competitions we have in the region. In the past, we had many referees from Guyana participating, but now we need to see more, so this is a recruitment programme.”

During the week, Guyana’s match officials will be instructed on recent changes to the Laws of the Game and how to best apply them, alongside a focus on important areas such as the offside rule and fouls. The programme also features fitness tests as part of a holistic theoretical and practical course that helps participants to better understand and execute their vital role on the field of play.

“This course is geared towards ensuring that our match officials have a common and uniform understanding of the interpretation of the Laws of the Game,” said Dion Inniss, GFF Head of Refereeing and Executive Committee member.

“Our hope is that they would leave here with one knowledge – that the Laws of the Game should be implemented in one common way.”

“The GFF continues to ensure that, whenever the authorities say it’s a go for us to return to play, our coaches, our players, our administrators, our match commissioners and – certainly – our referees are geared up to be ready in the starting blocks. This programme is just one of many developmental programmes that we are having to ensure that when the time comes, we are raring to go.”

GFF President Wayne Forde (second from right) along with other officials and referees at the course

Currently, Guyana has three match officials on the prestigious FIFA Refereeing International List, which enables referees to wear the FIFA badge and to officiate at international matches: Sherwin Johnson, Maurees Skeete and Kleon Lindey.

“As a referee, you have to be current and up-to-date with the Laws of the Game,” said FIFA referee and Upper Demerara Football Association course participant Skeete.

“We can see how football is improving rapidly, so we need to be on top at all times. This course is important because we have FIFA instructors to guide us and teach us with all the new materials, and to give us a fresh understanding of the Laws of the Game and how to apply them.”

“I’m excited to have this course, and I am looking to grab and gain all the knowledge and experience that I could, so I could better myself and also the junior referees around me, and even the players and coaches too,” she said.

GFF President Wayne Forde said the in-person course would provide vital support and training for Guyana’s new and experienced match officials as the Federation puts all the elements in place to ensure a safe and well-managed return to competitive football.

“Our referees have to be in tip-top shape to perform the critical duties of a match official,” said President Forde. “We have a very robust and aggressive competition calendar in place, once we are given the permission to get football back to the pitch, so it is important that we not only have our experienced officials being trained and getting back to work, but we are also doing a lot of work behind the scenes to bring new officials to the game.” (GFF)

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