IRWIN, St James — President of the Westmoreland Football Association (WFA) Everton Tomlinson has said he could ask the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) not to re-license referees from the parish after they refused to meet with the FA to iron out issues between the two parties.
The FA and the referees have been at loggerheads over the decision to use persons not affiliated to the referees group to officiate in the WFA Under-15 competition and things took a turn for the worst when Tomlinson threatened to escalate things after two attempts last week to meet with the referees fell through.
Jeffrey Reece, president of the Westmoreland Referees Group, fired back saying they were not happy with Tomlinson's "disrespectful" approach and said all the referees in the parish had started the process of licensing inside the deadline and long before the WFA boss had spoken to them about the re-licensing.
Tomlinson told the Jamaica Observer last weekend that the WFA had reached out to the referees group and its President Reece, but none of the referees showed up for the meeting that he hoped would have ironed out any differences between the parties.
He said they had called a meeting for Tuesday, February 28, but was told the time was too short and they had rescheduled it for Thursday, March 2 at the WFA offices at Llandilo.
Reece agreed that when they were contacted "less than 24 hours" before the first day, there was not enough time and said because of his job as an electrical contractor, he was not able to attend the second meeting and also said none of the referees showed up.
The referee boss told the Observer, the deadline for the re-licensing was February 17 and Tomlinson had called him on the 27th at which time he said they had already submitted all the documents required to the JFF.
The annual exercise, he said, required a medical certificate, scans of their passports and TRN cards as well as a licensing fee.
Tomlinson said they were eager to sit down and have dialogue with the referees. "As far as I am concerned, I am not aware of any conflicts between the WFA and the refs and we need to have discussions, I am sure we don't owe them any monies either."
He went on to say he had spoken to individual members of the referees group who he said had no quarrel with the WFA either and added they were now trying to get youngsters in the parish interested in becoming football officials.
"Coming out of the Under 15 competition, we have identified at least 12 individuals, all under 16 years old and we have reached out to the Western Confederation and the JFF to conduct seminars for them so they can learn what it takes to become referees."
Tomlinson said for football in Westmoreland to return to the top, they needed to have good referees and said they were welcomed to occupy an office in the FA building at the Llandilo Complex.