Absa Premiership

Middendorp weighs in on referee debate

Ernst Middendorp
Ernst Middendorp

Cape Town - The controversy surrounding referees in the Absa Premiership this season intensified again in Soweto Derby on Saturday, but Kaizer Chiefs manager Ernst Middendorp questioned who is benefiting from the refereeing mistakes.

Chiefs triumphed in the Telkom Knockout clash on penalties after the match ended 2-2 after extra time. There were a few moments of controversy, notably the red card given to Pirates defender Mthokozisi Dube.

However, while Middendorp agrees mistakes were being made by the officials he was adamant that no one team has received more of an advantage than others.

“I was hoping nobody would ask this question – I don’t agree with this statement about benefiting,” he said.

"Who is benefiting? Pirates? Sundowns? Highlands Park? Black Leopards? Here and there, other teams? Probably here and there Chiefs? Benefiting, it happens, it is normal.

"Did you see the goal for Bloemfontein Celtic against SuperSport? Have you seen the tackles from Pirates against Highlands Park? They do their best and we must not overthink it or highlight it.”

The vitriol towards match officials has been so bad this season the PSL has already sent letters to four coaches - including Pitso Mosimane, Benni McCarthy, Owen de Gama and Steve Komphela - asking them to explain their comments they have made in the media about referees.

While stopping short of outright saying the standard of refereeing in the Premiership is below par, Middendorp did admit he felt it was time footballing refereeing was professionalised.

"I repeat, the only solution is that professional match officials have to come in, meaning that everybody is prepared and have targets. They come in to do their best and have the next job to focus on. We must all be professional," he concluded.

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