Johannesburg - Limpopo side Baroka FC, who are in the thick of the National First Division promotional play-offs, have been caught up in a tangle with the South African Football Association (Safa) and the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
The club wrote to Safa requesting that Victor Gomes and two other referees not officiate at their games during the play-offs.
Baroka felt hard done by after Gomes controversially disallowed a goal they scored from the penalty spot for encroachment and then gave a free kick against them.
League into disrepute
This robbed the club of a valuable point as they fought for their lives.
However, Baroka’s chief executive officer, Morgan Mammila, told City Press on Friday that they had since withdrawn their request after some soul-searching.
But the withdrawal could have come a little too late as City Press has learnt that the PSL is not happy with how the club went about making the request – writing directly to Safa instead of going via the league.
A source in the PSL said the club may be charged for bringing the league into disrepute. The insider said it was not clear why Baroka did not want the match officials.
“I think there is more than meets the eye in the request. It raises questions. Why don’t they want these officials? Is there something they know that we don’t? They need to come clean,” said the source.
PSL head of media relations Luxolo September said the league would not comment on matters pertaining to match officials as they fell under the jurisdiction of Safa.
Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi confirmed receiving Baroka’s request. However, he said it was not given consideration as Baroka’s reasons were flimsy.
Decision is final
Mammila said they had realised that they had made an emotional decision following the incident in their game against Arrows.
“We felt hard done by after that decision, but Safa told us the rules say a referee’s decision is final. We were out of order to make that request and we have since moved on and accepted the outcome of the game. Sometimes, when you reflect, you realise you have made a mistake and you have to acknowledge that and move on.”
Mammila denied not going through the correct channels to lodge the complaint and said they had first written to the league.
Before Saturday's third play-off game between Baroka and Stellenbosch FC, the Limpopo side were on top of the mini league.