Two female referees from St. Kitts and Nevis left the federation Tuesday morning enroute to France where they will be participating in a women’s referee five day training seminar. Referee Shandor Wilkinson and Assistant Referee Ulinda Warner are the two representatives from St. Kitts and Nevis in this training exercise. The training is designed to help enhance the refereeing skills while providing exposure to the participants. Head of the St. Kitts and Nevis Football Association (SKNFA) Referees Department and FIFA referee instructor Malcom Ramsey gave a synopsis of the training exercise. “It’s sponsored by Equal Playing Field, an international body for football referring in collaboration with FIFA. They will have the opportunity to referee a World Long Game…they will be doing a 90 minute game, they will be doing a five a side tournament and they will have regular training throughout the seminar—on the field/off the field fitness training as well,” Mr. Ramsey disclosed.
Mr. Ramsey said this training presents a big opportunity for the two women referees. “It’s a very proud moment for St. Kitts and Nevis. This is the first time we are sending anybody from St. Kitts and Nevis as it relates to females anywhere for referee. It’s a big moment not only for these two young ladies, Shandor and Ulinda, but also for referees in St. Kitts and Nevis. It shows us that if you work hard and you are committed, that the opportunities are endless. I am very confident that they are prepared and they will do well,” Mr. Ramsey continued.
The two referees expressed their elation to be afforded the opportunity to be a part of this training seminar. Shandor spoke about some of what will take place as part of the training. “Basically we are going to be on and off the field. On the field there will be a game of 3500 players subbing in and out. Each referee will be given 90 minutes. We are going to have a five a side game as well where players will be subbing in and out,” Shandor explained. As for Ulinda she said: “I’m excited. Nervous.”
President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Football Association Anthony Johnson was at the RLB International Airport on Tuesday morning to bid the ladies a safe and productive trip. He said this development bodes well for the improvement of officiating in local football and presents opportunities for the candidates to progress in their careers internationally. “It’s an excellent opportunity for them personally to advance their own career with a view to one day, in the not too distant future become recognized as international FIFA official referees,” Mr. Johnson said. He noted that this is an opportunity for the SKNFA to invest in women’s football.
Mr. Ramsey said the ultimate goal is for Wilkinson and Warner to become FIFA International Referees. Ulinda Warner has been an Assistant Referee now for three years while Shandor Wilkinson has been officiating since 2016.