South-Africa

Plaudits for trustworthy SA ref Victor Gomes

2018-04-22 06:03
Errol Sweeney (Supplied)

Johannesburg - An alleged attempt to bribe a South African referee has failed. The alleged attempt came during a CAF Confederation Cup first-leg tie between Nigerian side Plateau United and USM Alger of Algeria when referee Victor Gomes was offered $30 000 (R362 000).

This happened when Gomes, his two assistants Johannes Moshidi and Athenkosi Ndongeni, and fourth official Thando Ndzandzeka were in the Nigerian capital, Lagos.

They were approached before the game to fix the result. Gomes immediately reported the incident to the CAF official on duty.

It’s not clear at this point who the parties were that were offering the bribe. There is no indication if it was one of the teams or a betting syndicate, and the matter is under investigation.

This follows the suspension for life of Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey, who was found guilty of match-fixing in South Africa’s 2-1 World Cup qualifier victory over Senegal in November 2016.

FIFA ordered the match to be replayed a year later.

It’s just another indication of the pressure that modern-day match officials are under.

Personally, I was offered a bribe only once and I got so angry at the individual that he felt he could persuade me with money to fix the result. The individual is now deceased, so I won’t divulge any more of the incident.

Gomes and his officials are professional, honest, trustworthy and completely above board. I know Victor and he always comes across as dedicated and 100% committed to his profession.

That’s why he’s one of the most respected match officials on the continent today, and much sought-after by CAF when it comes to important games.

MICHAEL OLIVER UNDER FIRE

The scurrilous and despicable comments on social media against and about English Premier League referee Michael Oliver following the recent UEFA Champions League game between Real Madrid from Spain and Juventus from Italy, have reached new depths of depravity.

Not only are they - the nameless, faceless people - targeting Oliver, they are also after his wife.

Let’s get one thing straight here, the penalty decision was 100% correct, as was the red card shown to long-serving Juve 'keeper Gianluigi Buffon.

One can understand his frustration. They had come back from the dead, having conceded three away goals in Turin. They were right back in the contest when they scored three away goals, only to concede a penalty in the last minutes of referee’s optional time.

Be that as it may, the ref was correct.

Some commentators have even suggested that, because it was the end of the 40-year-old goalkeeper’s career, the referee should have turned a blind eye.

Well, my dear readers, to suggest such a scenario is tantamount to asking the referee to cheat, and to suggest that a referee should indulge in such behaviour beggars belief.

I also was the subject of much vile and vulgar criticism when I red-carded former Manchester United and England captain Bryan Robson in 1993 at Ellis Park.

The comments from some of our respected commentators and pundits were less than complimentary, to say the least.

There is no good or bad time to issue a yellow or red card. Likewise, there is no good or bad time to give a penalty.

A penalty kick is a direct free kick. The question then is, if that incident had happened outside the penalty area - say on the halfway line - should a referee give a free kick?

That’s the principle.

I do hope that UEFA will take decisive action against Buffon and his team-mates for the way they manhandled the referee on this occasion, and send out an unambiguous message that such treatment of match officials will not be tolerated.

Happy whistling!

Follow me on Twitter @dr_errol

Read more on:    errol sweeney  |  victor gomes  |  soccer
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