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GFF conducts successful first all-female referee workshop

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Press Release from the Guyana Football Federation

The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) held its first all-female referee workshop from May 17-19, which was attended by 13 enthusiastic participants from across Guyana.

The three-day ground-breaking seminar, led by Concacaf Elite Assessor/Instructor Diane Ferreira-James, took place at the Federation’s National Training Centre in Providence, East Bank Demerara.

Referees, comprising both officials with some experience and several newcomers to the profession from Georgetown, Linden, Bartica and Berbice, were in attendance.

The workshop included both theoretical and practical sessions, covering refereeing laws, game management, challenges, nutrition, and match preparation, along with fitness and technical drills.

Head facilitator Ferreira-James created an inclusive environment where participants felt at ease sharing their concerns and offering suggestions.

Drills were also designed to cater to both experienced referees and newcomers.

“It’s new to them,” Ferreira-James explained.

“At first we had a little difficulty with them adapting and understanding the requirements. For example, as an assistant referee it is required that you do lateral movement and turn into your jogging and staying aligned with the second last opponent.”

However, she added that after the “second drill they started to adopt and that is important,” emphasising that “going forward, continuity is very important so we need to ensure that the instructors continue teaching them about the basics. It’s all about the basics.”

New referee Ackema Thomas from Linden said the seminar was “very informative. I’ve learnt to stretch (in) ways I didn’t know I could have stretched. And it shows me that I need to do more.”

GFF Head of Referees Department Lenval Peart described the programme as “ground-breaking,” noting that there has been a significant increase in women joining the profession over the last few months.

He highlighted that the Concacaf training was a follow-up to the Referee Introductory Course, sharing that participants displayed strong camaraderie and aptitude for understanding and respecting the game.

“We have great potential here. It tells us that there is growth, there is room for international growth and there’s room for improvement and we will continue to do that through the GFF Referees Department.”

GFF President Wayne Forde stressed that the Federation continues to invest “heavily in the development of match officials, with a particular focus on increasing the participation of female referees.”

“The GFF has come a far way and today the national football space is a much safer place for females when compared with what obtained in the past. However, while this is worthy of celebration, we must remain ever vigilant in ensuring that the right conditions are in place so that girls and women can continue to play, enjoy and learn about our beautiful game in a wholesome environment.”

The football official also revealed that the Referees Department’s recruitment efforts will soon shift to secondary schools as part of the FIFA Football for Schools Programme (F4S).

GFF Referee Instructor/Assessor Natasha Lewis contributed to the classroom sessions, while FIFA Fitness Instructor Kelesha Antoine oversaw the fitness component of the workshop.

Additionally, FIFA Assistant Referee Mijensa Wrench from Suriname shared her insights and experiences from the 2022 Under-20 Women’s World Cup.

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