A series of blunders during the recent Absa Premiership fixture between AmaZulu and Kaizer Chiefs has cost PSL assistant referee Mervyn van Wyk his place on the Fifa referees panel.
This was confirmed by Safa head of referees Tenda Masikhwa yesterday.
Subsequently, the match official from Kimberley has been demoted to officiate in the lower league games as punishment for his poor performance in that game.
Van Wyk ruled out two AmaZulu goals for offside in their 2-0 defeat to Chiefs. It turned out after review that he had erred in not allowing one of the goals to stand.
“It’s true that he was nominated, but the [referees] committee felt that his performance on September 24 didn’t make the fact that he was recommended enough. I can confirm that his nomination has been withdrawn,” Masikhwa told City Press yesterday.
The referees committee confirmed on Friday that Van Wyk had been “sanctioned to four weeks of non-appointment in NSL matches”, alongside assistant referee Athuxolo Madela, who made some dubious decisions during the Chiefs versus Baroka league match on September 28.
Masikhwa said the pair would be monitored by technical instructors, who would later send a comprehensive report on their progress.
“They are sanctioned and are required to do regional matches as part of the rehabilitation process,” he said, adding that the five who were suspended last season were being reintegrated into the system.
He confirmed that “action” had also been taken against another assistant referee, Shaun Oliver, who denied Khama Billiat a legitimate goal in Chiefs’ league game against Cape Town City in August.
This week, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane became the latest to lash out at erratic match officials after he claimed his side was denied a penalty in their game against Black Leopards on Tuesday. He commented live on TV in a post-match interview that Chiefs were “benefiting from the mistakes of the referees”.
Asked what the referees committee made of these remarks, Masikhwa said: “We usually leave that to the PSL to address such issues ... if the comment by the coach is in transgression of the club’s compliance manual or not.”
Mosimane is among those calling for the introduction of the video assistant referee (VAR) system in the local game.
“Our World Cup stadiums comply, why not? We have the capacity. The VAR will reduce the mistakes by the referees and the teams will benefit.”
Masikhwa said the local referees’ body was also keen to have the VAR in line with the world’s top leagues.
He said former PSL referee Jerome Damon, who is now an instructor at Fifa, would lead the process of training the local match officials on the VAR.
“This is not something that Safa can do alone, we need the buy-in from the PSL as well,” he said.
Masikhwa acknowledged that South Africa might have the resources for the VAR, but the country would still need more personnel to run the process. Safa currently has 90 match officials on its panel.
Masikhwa said only two local match officials – referee Victor Gomes and assistant referee Zakhele Siwela – had undergone VAR training.
The two attended a course in Cairo, Egypt, late last year. Siwela had already acquired extensive training prior to last year’s World Cup in Russia, where he was the only South African on the list to officiate at the global showpiece.
The VAR system was introduced in top-flight European football by the German Bundesliga and the Serie A in Italy at the start of the 2017/18 season.
The La Liga in Spain followed suit last season, while the English Premier League implemented the technology at the beginning of this campaign.