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Sat, Apr

SSFL President, Merere Gonzales
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Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) president Merere Gonzales said his organisation will investigate a complaint by Queen’s Park head coach Wayne Sheppard about the competence and fitness of a local referee.

Sheppard has called for the referee to be banned from all SSFL matches in the future.

His letter to the SSFL comes on the heels of an alleged incident involving himself and the referee on the sidelines during a T&T Premier Football League tier two game. The clash was preceded by a serious injury to one of Queen’s Park’s players which Sheppard claimed was caused by the referee’s handling of the match and his treatment of the players.

He has made a police report at the St James Police Station about the sideline altercation with the referee.

In his appeal to the SSFL, Sheppard said the referee has “failed to live up to those expected standards...Yet, season after season, the coaches, players and even spectators are subjected to his arrogance, histrionics and ignorance of the rules of the game.”

Gonzales acknowledged the concerns raised by Sheppard, and the SSFL president said he and his executive, in collaboration with the T&T Football Association (TTFA), will do all in their power to ensure the claims are thoroughly investigated.

The incident comes on the heels of TTFA’s launching of their revised Safeguarding Framework and Policy in February.

“Certainly, this matter being a very serious one would definitely be addressed by the SSFL, as well as liaising purposefully with the TTFA Referees Department and Safeguarding entity on it,” Gonzales said.

“This is not a decision I can make by myself,” the SSFL president told Newsday. “I have an executive and the matters raised will be discussed at the next general council meeting.”

“Our football season doesn’t begin until September. Although we intend to act on it, whatever decision is taken will only come into effect when the new school season starts.” Gonzales said he has already engaged Michael Ragoonath, head of the TTFA Referees Department, on the allegations made.

Last week, Ragoonath declined to discuss the matter when contacted by Newsday, saying it was now in the hands of the police. Newsday tried to contact the referee but calls to his cellphone were unanswered.


SOURCE: T&T Newsday

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