Clubs, JFF should take responsibility - Prendergast
FIFA referee instructor Peter Prendegast believes that comments made by Reggae Boyz team manager, Roy Simpson, who said that referees were encouraging the overly aggressive play in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) is unfair to the match officials.
Prendegast agreed there were instances where referees could take stronger action, but insists referees cannot be held accountable and that the clubs, the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) should take responsibility for not doing enough to prevent these types of challenges from becoming a regular sight in our top-flight football competition.
“It starts with the clubs, it’s them it costing in the long run. It is not the duty of the referee to tell the players how to play. The referee is there to enforce the laws of the game and to apply it in a practical way. The game is a contact sport and referee cannot be held liable for some of these nasty challenge some players make,” said Prendergast. “It is the players who are making these challenges and the referee based on the type of challenge will act accordingly, based on what the law provides for.”
“I would not say there are not challenges that have gone unpunished or are not punished to the extent that it should. But it could be in the interpretation of the referee or his angle of vision. But clubs have the responsibility to guide their players in a manner of play. It is unfair to say the referees are encouraging this type of play when the clubs themselves are giving and they are taking,” Prendergast argued.
He believes if referees are to apply to laws of the game to the letter in our local Premier League, it would create an even less attractive spectacle. As a result, he calls on the league’s governing body, the PLCA, to do more to curb the brutal challenges on show in our league.
“If the referees go by the book and apply the laws, we have four and five red cards every match. Why are we waiting on the referee to be reactive. We want prevention and how can that be prevented? By the players respecting fellow players and not be as aggressive unnecessarily. But what is the league doing about itself? What is the PLCA doing about its league? Everybody’s looking somewhere else.
“Players misbehave and go to the same JFF and PLCA and get a slap on the wrist, so we need to look within. The PLCA has responsibility for red cards and off the ball incidents, so we need to move from a reactive to a prevention policy and it’s the clubs it is costing to treat these injuries,” he said.
“Sometimes the players need a talk. I agree 100 per cent that we need to see more football than the aggressive play we are seeing. So we have to try and manage it and it’s a collective effort that is required, but for me it starts with the clubs,” said Prendergast.