Refs feeling COVID impact
With layoffs and pay cuts becoming regular features of the coronavirus pandemic, local match officials are also feeling the financial impact that no football activity is having on the general football fraternity, says Victor Stewart, manager of the Referees Department at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).
Stewart said that although officiating is not the main source of income for the majority of local match officials, it is a vital means of helping them to make ends meet.
"We are operating in an amateur (football) environment, which means this (officiating) is not a (full-time) profession. Most of the referees are professionals in their own way and are gainfully employed, some are self-employed and some work in government businesses. However, do not underscore the value of refereeing in terms of an economic benefit, so it is impacting on them," he said.
He also believes that Jamaica's international ranked officials stand to lose more, as apart from the financial benefit of doing international games, the knowledge and experience they would gain on their international trips are invaluable.
"Apart from our regular referees who work at the local level and schoolboy level. The global impact of corona has prevented international football from playing and we have 13 people on the international circuit who would have benefited from Concacaf and FIFA tournaments.
"This would have helped them in their personal development and resources cannot be too much either. So while they can survive on their own, it's definitely impacting on additional sources of income that they use to benefit from. So like every other aspect of the sport, we too are feeling the effect of the non-playing of football," he continued.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought football globally to a standstill. Top-flight football has been postponed indefinitely across the globe with Belgium calling off their season entirely.
However, Stewart, who has more than 30 years as a football official and administrator, said it would be beneficial to all if the current Red Stripe Premier League season was completed.
"We have no timeline as to when there will be any normality nationally or globally. However, from a football point of view based on the position of our league, it's up to the RSPL people to decide if they continue the league. But I think we should continue, I would want the league to finish especially with things interestingly poised in terms of the standings. Even if it means that we have a late start to the 2020-2021 season, and subsequent a late finish to the current season, I think we should finish this season for what's value," he said.