The Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) took a major step towards reducing the drastic referee shortage in the conference, by forging a partnership with USAID Comet – II, to train 28 young men from various inner city communities for eight weeks, to be qualified referees. The partnership is valued at over $250,000, with more support expected from other KSAFA partners. According to KSAFA general secretary, Dwayne Dillon, who spoke at the launch of the programme on Saturday at Melbourne Cricket Club, KSAFA has under performed in the area of referee development and will have to take an intensive and deliberate effort to get back in the top flight of referees in the country, which is dominated by St Catherine and Clarendon referees. He noted that KSAFA boasts seven Premier League teams and hosts the most football competitions at any level in the country, but is woefully lacking in its referee representation and performance. Cancellations At present, KSAFA has only one FIFA Referee, Karl Tyrell, and two assistants, Garnet Page and Keeble Williams. KSAFA president, Wayne Shaw, says the confederation’s shortage of referees has forced many postponements in their competitions, especially at weekends and they have no choice but to look to St Catherine and Clarendon for support to ensure games are completed as schedule. “Kingston and St Andrew have a shortage of referees and we want to increase the referee numbers. We try to get kids between the ages of 18 to 25 because we want people to stay as long as possible,” he said. The 28 trainees, were selected by the programme’s coordinator and Masters League general secretary, Samantha Harvey. They go through a rigorous eight weeks programme where they will learn the laws of the game in four weeks of class room sessions, before sitting an exam in the fifth week. A physical training schedule will be developed for the trainees during class room sessions and then intensified in the last three weeks of the programme. Theory work for the programme will be done at the Camperdown High School from Mondays to Fridays, while practical sessions will take place at the JDF Air Wing on Saturdays.