Frustrated Grosvenor calls foul on SSFL refs by Andrew  Gioannetti

Long-stanging St Anthony’s head coach Nigel Grosvenor feels that his school’s name is being tarnished with the high number of red cards conceded this season and is calling for the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) to intervene.

Grosvenor yesterday complained in writing to SSFL general secretary Azaad Khan after one of his players, Andrew Rullow, was red carded during the team’s SSFL Premier Division clash against Shiva Boys Hindu College, in Westmoorings, on Wednesday.

It was the fourth red card received by St Anthony’s after only five matches and Grosvenor said this paints a picture of an indisciplined team.

“I’m not writing this letter because of sour grapes or being a cry baby I’m writing it because probably something that I write might make sense and someone might listen and make a change,” he wrote.

Rullow was ejected almost immediately after his second half introduction and Grosvenor said this brought the player to tears as both were of the view that the referee’s call was unjustified.

Rullow was brought to attack a St Anthony’s corner close to the end of the match, with the scores locked at 2-2, when in a scramble for position. According to Grosvenor, Rullow merely pulled his arm away when being restrained by the Shiva player, who then dropped to the ground.

The coach said the assistant referee waved his flag and advised the head official to caution the player, but the referee disagreed and opted to eject Rullow instead.

A red card in the SSFL comes with a one-match suspension and this will undoubtedly create a tactical headache for Grosvenor, who had four players temporarily depart the team for national Under-17 duties.

“Over the years I have taught my players to be aggressive but legally so and as many other coaches have done,” he said. “However, somehow to my belief I don’t think we are together in this thinking with some of the referees in Trinidad. In my experience as a coach including that of a national coach, the referees do not let the game flow. There are too much stoppages for calls that we call ‘soft’. To me they tend to quickly pull out cards that will obviously lower the tempo of the game killing it’s intensity and it’s beauty.”

He added: “Professional referees try and let the game flow. They try their best to refrain from showing too many yellow cards and especially red cards. They know their role. On the field they know it is about the players and not about them, they know that the players are the entertainers and should let them play.

“Referees down here are like DJs. When the crowd is enjoying the music, they cut it and call it a mix.”

“Teams abroad play aggressive, hard football and they are taught that from young (that) they are encouraged to do so and they are assisted to do so from the referees in there various leagues. Our youths down here are hampered in doing so in fear of receiving a card. Our referees must change their thinking and try and let the players play as much as possible. Thank you for your time and I hope something I said made sense,” he concluded.

St Anthony’s currently leads the SSFL Premier Division standings with 15 points from five straight wins, while St Mary’s College sits second on 11 points also after five matches.