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Father and son referees join forces for international match

Eric Rowbottom

A father and son duo had a great time refereeing the Samaaraa v Jersey Island Games basketball match together for the first time on Monday morning.
Francis Santos, 48, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease four years ago and thought that would have been the end of his refereeing career.
Not only did he referee basketball matches in Gibraltar, but he also dedicated his time to refereeing internationally with FIBA.
But last year he decided he would get back in the game.
“My dad was feeling much better with his new medications and became determined to start refereeing again,” his son, Aaron, 21, told the Chronicle.
At first Mr Santos refereed local GABBA matches in Gibraltar, but it was a few months ago that GABBA President and Gibraltar Mayor, John Gonçalves, suggested he return to the international refereeing platform.
“It was quite emotional refereeing alongside my dad,” Aaron said.
“This was a great experience for me as this was the first time I refereed an international game.”
“My dad also had a great time because this was his return to an international platform.”
“Our whole family came to the game to support us and it was really great fun.”
This was the first time Aaron was refereeing an international match and Mr Santos’ international return.
Mr Santos and Aaron will both be refereeing five basketball games each in this Island Games competition, alongside Italian referee Luigi Lamonica.
Aaron used to play basketball for Gibraltar but stopped after he went to university to study for his degree and decided to take up refereeing recently.
“This was something we never thought would happen since my dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease,” Aaron added.
“But we were both really happy to referee together.”