Johannesburg - The recent spate of poor officiating at soccer matches signals that the refereeing department at the SA Football Association (Safa) is in disarray.
Head of department Peter Sejake is suspended and acting head Ian McLeod has too much on his plate – he is a school principal and a match commissioner.
The disorganisation in the referees’ office has had a negative effect on games, and match officials have come under fire for poor officiating.
Although Safa chief executive officer Dennis Mumble has refused to blame this on the department, he has vowed to take action against underperforming match officials.
Referees have been under the spotlight for the wrong reasons recently, and now Safa has promised to act.
Last weekend, referee Cedrick Muvhali and his assistant Patrick Jafta had a shocker of a game when they denied Cape Town City a clear goal. Jafta flagged Lehlohonolo Majoro offside when the striker was clearly on.
And as if that was not enough, Muvhali awarded City a dubious penalty, which did not go down well with the Polokwane City players, who nearly vented their anger on him.
Mumble said they would name and shame those in the wrong. In the same breath, he pointed out that they would also praise the officials who were doing well.
Reputation of the game
A week after the much talked about match in Cape Town, the review committee has not yet released its findings.
“We cannot be happy and that is why we want the experts to tell us what we need to do,” Mumble said.
“The technical committee is responsible for quality control and, if there are interventions that are needed, they must inform us.
"From a disciplinary committee point of view, they must be able to tell us what we need to do at the highest level, because the reputation of the game is at stake".
Mumble defended McLeod by saying the former referee was hands-on, despite also being a match commissioner.
“He has the support system in the office and has his finger on the pulse. Our challenge is that we cannot replace the head of referees as he is still going through a disciplinary process and, until we conclude that, we can only have someone in an acting position.
Make them public
"But we can’t blame referees’ poor performance on the lack of a head of department".
He said he maintained the view that the review committee’s decisions had to be announced.
“We are not demoralising them. Even when my child is not doing well in class, I am informed.
"They must understand that there are sanctions for everyone involved in the game. It is not one-sided as we also reward those who do well and make them public".