CFL should recruit American referees, says Ticat GM
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jul 25, 2007)
The Canadian Football League should consider recruiting Americans to improve its officiating says Hamilton Tiger-Cat GM Marcel Desjardins.
"I think it is absolutely something they need to look at," said Desjardins, who has watched his 0-4 team become the most penalized in the league.
The Hamilton GM has been on the phone weekly to the league office complaining his team has been flagged 52 times for 514 yards in its first four games. Both are league highs.
While he won't comment directly on the quality of refereeing his club is receiving, the Cat GM admits he isn't happy with the number and type of calls that are going against his team.
The Cat GM acknowledges the league has spent a lot of money to develop Canadian referees.
"But until that talent pool is deep enough to be able to bring those guys to the CFL level, I think it is something we at least have to look at. I'm not saying it has to be done, but we at least have to look at it to see if it is feasible and if it can make our product better. At the end of the day that's what matters."
Desjardins notes that when the CFL opted to expand to the U.S. back in the mid-1990s, American officials were hired. And he suggested by opening up CFL officiating jobs to applicants south of the border the league could take advantage of a huge talent pool, including those who have refereed at the U.S. college level.
While CFL bylaws don't rule out Americans, spokesman Jamie Dykstra said the league focuses on this side of the border. Kevin McDonald, the league's director of football operations and development, responded to Desjardins in a statement.
"We would welcome any qualified individuals who wish to be a part of our game. We are extremely confident in the quality level of our officiating staff and the comprehensive recruitment, training and development programs we have in place."firstname.lastname@example.org