New refs body gets sidelined by politics

2009-09-26 13:32

POLITICS have derailed the new referees’ structure.

The new body could have been up and running from the beginning of the season, but infighting between the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and Safa have scuppered the move.

Although the PSL have bought a building to house the structure and has a budget set aside, it will take some time before it gets off the ground.

The independent body would comprise full-time match officials – envisaged are four referees and six assistants as a start.

A source close to the negotiations blamed the delay on the ongoing power struggle between PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza and Safa’s national chairperson of the referees committee Kirsten Nematandani.

The two were vying for the South African Football Association (Safa) presidency at yesterday’s elections.

The source said the delay could be seen as a ploy to sabotage Nematandani’s plans and portray him as a failure.

But our informant stated that Nematandani stalled the move up until after the elections as he was afraid of upsetting referees who would not be on the panel.

The source argued it would have stopped referees who belong to the Safa regions from voting for him.

“It cuts both ways depending on which side of the fence you sit. The structure could have long been up and running had it not been for internal politics,” said the source.

Nematandani said he was awaiting permission from the joint liaison committee which is made up of PSL and Safa members.

He said he could not understand the delay.

Ace Ncobo, PSL’s general manager, said the league could never play delaying tactics as they wanted the structure to succeed.

“We don’t have referees as they belong to Safa and any delay cannot be blamed on us. We are really frustrated that it has not started because we believe it would improve the standard of officiating,” said Ncobo.

Meanwhile, City Press has learnt that two senior assistant referees failed the Fifa fitness test this week.

The two, Yugesh Anjith and ­Lazarus Matela, will not be included in the new international panel which was scheduled to be released tomorrow.

Steve Goddard, chairperson of the review committee, said the new international list would only be made available tomorrow.

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