Johannesburg - This is the story of a match commissioner who was beaten up by a group of soccer fans.
The incident happened after an ABC Motsepe League match.
The story goes that the commissioner was assaulted after he was seen receiving money from the winning club after the match.
The fans thought the payment was a bribe and attacked him like a pack of wolves.
Such an incident – which I am sure is not the first of its kind and will probably not be the last – was bound to happen.
The method used by the SA Football Association (Safa) to pay referees is a recipe for disaster.
It’s a miracle this payment method has not resulted in death.
The payment method is simple – two clubs bring money to pay the referee, his two assistants and the match commissioner.
However, the rules state that the clubs must hand over the money before the match.
Unfortunately, I have heard of incidents where some clubs postpone the match officials’ payment to the end of the game.
Of all the excuses made, the most popular is that the person who has the money is running late.
After losing a match or feeling hard done by after the decisions made during the match, some clubs refuse to hand over their share of the money.
In the incident reported on this page, it is safe to assume that the money the supporters saw the match commissioner receive was the club’s share of the payment due to the officials.
But because the payment was made by the winning side, the situation was easy to misinterpret.
Safa knows what kind of danger match officials are exposed to. Having them personally collect money from teams raises a lot of suspicion.
After all, soccer fans have always believed that match officials are susceptible to bribery.
It is obvious that every time money is exchanged between clubs and match officials, questions are going to be asked.
Safa needs to review and change this system to avoid a repeat of this incident.
The clubs could easily pay the money into Safa’s bank account. The association would then transfer the money into the match official’s account.
On more than one occasion, we have been told that plans are under way to turn Safa into a world-class organisation.
Having officials receive money from clubs on the day of the match is an outdated payment method that belongs in the dark ages.
It is reminiscent of the era when clubs used to compete for goats, sheep and cows.
This is a primitive arrangement that has no place in the 21st century.
South Africans are all too familiar with the violence that sometimes erupts at soccer matches.
Past tragedies should have served as warnings and prompted our soccer authorities to do their best to avoid sparking more violent behaviour.
It is the duty of soccer bosses to ensure that all participants in a soccer match – from spectators and players to match officials – are safe.
If you ask me, this payment method is too amateurish and puts referees in harm’s way.
It must be stopped now before somebody dies – a single death will be one too many.
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