referee Osmond Downer, left, accepts a token of appreciation
from President George Maxwell Richards.
He was honoured for his 48 years of contribution to local,
regional and international football at the Centennial gala
dinner and awards ceremony of the Football Federation, at
Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence, Macoya, Tunapuna, on
Photo: Anthony Harris
T&T Football Federation (TTFF) celebrated 100 years
at the Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence, Macoya, Tunapuna,
on September 5. It was a gala night spanning 1904-2008
to celebrate greats including footballers, journalists,
heads of leagues and referees. Among the football hierarcy
present was visiting Fifa president Sepp Blatter, vice president
Austin Jack Warner, Uefa president Michel Platini, TTFF
president Oliver Camps and chairman of the English Football
Association Lord David Triesman.
Among the referees honoured was Osmond Downer with
a plaque in which was etched One Game One World One Passion
in recognition of Osmond Downerfor his contribution
In his inimitable style, debonair Downer savoured the moment
with a few drinks or smallies as he called them.
But, on a more judicious note, Downer said, It is
an honour to be recognised after having contributed to the
game of football for 48 years. It is a most fitting tribute.
Forty eight years is a tremendous milestone. I was driven
by my love and passion for the game. It is a beautiful game.
It is an honour to serve my country and the Caribbean.
Downer held the distinction of being the youngest football
referee in the country in 1968.
Downer, former president of the T&T Football Referees
Association (TTFRA) and chairman of the North Zone of the
TTFRA, was privileged to witness the ascendancy of the Strike
Squad and the Soca Warriors. The latter represented T&T
splendidly at the 2006 World Cup finals, Germany.
He paid kudos to Warner and the TTFF for recognising his
is a fantastic feeling to know you have the respect and
admiration of the entire football fraternity locally and
internationally, he said.
Downer was joined by fellow referees Douglas James, George
Cumberbatch, Lloyd de Gourville, Ken Laighlin, Richard Ramcharan,
Ramesh Ramdhan and Lennox Sirjusingh.
Education, football links
Downer, a former principal of St Augustine Senior Comprehensive
School, was instrumental in the development of Intercol
The Green Machine as it is affectionately called
top honours in.
It also produced the likes of coach Michael McComie.
have always felt football and sport had an integral role
in education. Mens sana in corporeaus sana (A healthy mind
in a healthy body.)
believe true education and learning and can only take place
when there is discipline, he added.
He lauded the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding
between Fifa and the University of the West Indies (UWI),
at Campus Principal Prof Clement Sankats office, at
UWI, St Augustine, also on September 5. It provides for
the creation of a Fifa chairthe establishment of a
Master of Arts in Physical Education and the establishment
of a womens football clinic.
share Blatters sentiments that a twinning between
football and education would rebound to the benefit of the
region. Education is important. T&T and the region can
expect great dividends from such a partnership.
On the flip side, Downer has always vented caustic criticism
geared toward the development of the game.
In a previous article (June 5,93) he bluntly stated
it was a sad day when the Caribbean had to depend upon foreign
referees for its Shell Caribbean Cup finals. He expressed
the view there were enough competent referees in T&T,
Jamaica and to a lesser extent Barbados.
was born in Gonzales, Port-of-Spain. While attending St
Marys College, Port-of-Spain, he sustained a back
injury. His dreams of becoming a star footballer were crushed.
Undaunted, Downer participated in the referees course,
and became the youngest international football referee,
He attended the University of London, and read for a Degree
in Biochemistry. He teaches Human and Social Biology at
the Diego Martin Finishing School.
Downer loves curried duck and is a devotee of the History
Channel. He enjoys reading and has contributed to articles
to the book In the Eye of the Whistle 111: The refereeing
at the 1994 World Cup. At Carnival, he assists the steelband
fraternity and lists himself as a Minshallite.
Downer has travelled extensively throughout the Caribbean
and Europe. Close friends like Austin Lyle and loved ones
call him Slim.
He lives in Diego Martin and is married to Patricia. Downer
is the father of Simone, Paul, David and Roelle.