The South African Football Association (SAFA) has confirmed a five-year sponsorship deal with broadcasting company MultiChoice Group (MCG), through Showmax, to improve refereeing in the country.
The sponsorship will support and assist more than 40 000 referees officiating nationwide in all matches played under SAFA.
It will also aid both male and female refereeing divisions of the sport, in support of SAFA's Project Equity.
"We could sit here this morning and launch a partnership that I think comes at a right time," said SAFA president Danny Jordaan during a special broadcast on SuperSport TV on Thursday afternoon.
"This is a time of greater integration of technology into the sport of football as well as enhancing the both the football and fan experience in the game.
"We are here today to celebrate a step change for referees in our country. This partnership between us (SAFA), Showmax and Multichoice will make a significant difference to the most important aspect of the game."
Jordaan also revealed that the partnership will serve as a stepping stone to get the necessary education and implementation of VAR (video assisting refereeing) and goal-line technology in the country.
He believes that in the next three years it could be introduced within the South African football leagues.
"The partnership between MultiChoice and SAFA is critical as it allows us to fulfil our development mandate, as well as improving the quality of football officiating at both domestic and international level," he said.
"This partnership will continue to make a contribution to deliver world-class officials on an inclusive basis."
Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice Group CEO, said: "We are pleased to be involved in what we believe is a monumental win for South African football that will truly elevate match officiating across all levels, from grassroots to the DStv Premiership and beyond, ultimately enabling the best local talent to participate on a global stage."
The agreement includes a redesigned and rebranded referees’ kit and other branding elements through which the Showmax brand will be showcased at all SAFA levels including:
- DStv Premiership
- National Team matches
- National First Division (NFD)
- ABC Motsepe League
- SASOL Women’s League
- Regional Leagues
- All football tournaments and matches played under the auspices of SAFA
- Compiled by Sport24 staff