Johannesburg - An ABC Motsepe League club owner has denied assaulting match commissioner Joel Baloyi.
Last week, City Press reported that Baloyi was assaulted by another club owner after a league match between Ndengezi and Mighty FC at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane a fortnight ago.
Ndengezi club owner Akani Siweya confirmed the incident, but denied he was personally involved, saying it was his supporters who caused the trouble. In front of the supporters, he accused the commissioner of taking a bribe.
But Mighty Tjale, owner of Mighty FC, who gave Baloyi the travelling fees, said he wanted to set the record straight, and accused Siweya of covering things up and not telling the truth.
Tjale said he was prepared to be a witness if the police or the SA Football Association called him to the hearing.
“If I am accused of bribing the commissioner, why didn’t they attack me because I would be the corruptor? I took the money in front of them to prove that it was not a bribe,” said Tjale.
“There is nowhere where it says the travelling allowance (for match officials) must be given before the game, and my policy has always been to pay after matches. I don’t want communication between my club officials and match officials prior to the game. I’m fiercely fighting corruption and you never know what kind of discussion could take place before matches.”
He said his interpretation of the travelling allowance was that it was a return fare, which “I always give them after matches for travelling back”.
He said he witnessed the assault and tried in vain to protect Baloyi.
“It was about 15 or so minutes after the game when I went down to give him his travelling allowance. He approached me in front of everybody and asked for the money. After I gave it to him, this boy confronted him and accused him of taking a bribe in front of everybody.
“Baloyi even took out the money and showed it to him, but he did not buy his story. He said to him he was starting again before slapping him with a warm klap.”
Tjale said that, with most people already out of the stadium,
Baloyi was hapless as Siweya and his cronies joined in and assaulted him.
He said he was taken by surprise by the turn of events, particularly after Siweya congratulated him after the game.
“If he felt cheated, why didn’t he go after the referees instead of a poor match commissioner who had nothing to do with what happened on the field?” asked Tjale.