Johannesburg - Local referee Charl Theron has announced his immediate retirement from soccer after failing to pass the pre-season fitness tests.
According to SuperSport.com, he is the first major casualty of last week’s testing fiasco in which all but one of South Africa’s top referees failed to pass the mandatory pre-season physical examination.
The South African Football Association (SAFA) was forced to allow the referees to re-run the tests in order to have a decent-sized pool of experienced officials available for the start of the new season.
But Theron failed at the second attempt, as well, and subsequently announced his retirement.
The Namibia-born Theron has been a referee for 23 years, taking up the whistle while still a school kid.
“It’s time for my family and my undivided attention. God bless all future endeavours of my ref colleagues and friends. It was a bumpy ride,” he said.
Theron, based in Stellenbosch and active in the wine export business, never made it onto the FIFA panel but did handle two cup finals in his PSL career.
He was in charge of the 2005 SAA Supa 8 Cup final, where Bloemfontein Celtic won rare silverware, and the 2009 Nedbank Cup final, which saw Moroka Swallows beat AmaTuks in a match which marked the re-opening of the renovated Rand Stadium.
Last week tests caused a major storm for the refereeing community. Several top refs, including Jerome Damon and the FIFA accredited duo of Daniel Volgraaf and Victor Hlungwani, are still to take their tests because of injury and illness.