The St Vincent and the Grenadines Referee Association says it will meet with the Football Federation on Monday to discuss the safety of match officials after an assault on Thursday, the second in less than a week.
“The St Vincent and the Grenadines Referee Association has taken a stand, where we withdraw all service of our officials. We won’t be officiating any football game until we meet as a general body with a representative from the Football Federation on Monday and discuss the way forward for referees in respect to the safety of referees,” Elroy Lewis, president of the referee association, told iWitness News.
“Today, a referee was attacked and beaten by players and last Saturday, the same thing happened in Barrouallie, where players from a team attacked an assistant referee after the final whistle,” Lewis said on Thursday.
“So, we can’t continue as normal because the safety of referees is paramount. And we need to send a clear message to footballers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that refereeing is a profession and it takes sacrifice to go on the field and officiate.
“And yes, we may err because we are not perfect, but that doesn’t call for any form of physical abuse.”
He said that a press conference might be held next week to update the public on the outcome of Monday’s meeting.
Police had to intervene to break up a fight at the end of a football game in Keartons, Barrouallie on Saturday.
iWitness News understands that as soon as the game ended, members of the losing team began to fight with spectators and members of the winning team.
“The officials had to run for rescue because the losing team believed the referee wasn’t fair,” one person told iWitness News.
One of the players was arrested on suspicion of inflicting actual bodily harm on another person, who subsequently decided not to press charges.