Cape Town — FIFA, the world governing body of football, on Friday declared the protest lodged by the South African Football Association (SAFA) following last month's controversial 1-0 loss to the Black Stars of Ghana as 'inadmissible' after the matter came before FIFA Disciplinary Committee.
FIFA Disciplinary Committee under the chairmanship of the Colombian Jorge Palacio considered the protest came to a conclusion on 23 November, a week after the 14 November match was played. According to the FIFA notice, SAFA lodged the protest one day after the match.
FIFA's records show that Ghanaian chief justice Anin Yeboah is Palacio's understudy — deputy chairperson of FIFA's disciplinary committee (DC).
FIFA's decision on Friday was sent out by Carlos Schneider, the Director of the FIFA Judicial Bodies and his note refers specifically to Article 46 in respect of Protests.
SAFA CEO, Advocate Tebogo Mothlante (himself a legal officer) said that after SAFA becomes acquainted with the reasons for the outcome, they will sit down and weigh up its options.
“We have received the decision without details. and we will request FIFA for the reasons and consider our options," said Motlanthe.
In terms of Article 51 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, SAFA will have 10 days to request, in writing, the reasons for dismissing the case. If SAFA fails to do so, the decision will become final and binding.
In their protest correspondence, SAFA requested an investigation of possible match manipulation after an independent analysis of the match showed a distinct pattern of bias by Senegalese referee Maguette N’Diaye. The fixture ended 1-0 in favour of hosts Ghana after the winning goal came via a dubious penalty.
SAFA pointed out that there was a very high percentage of incorrect decisions against Bafana Bafana (South Africa). These had a detrimental impact on the direction, as well as the final result of the match.
Through its president Danny Jordaan, SAFA pointed out that FIFA had the responsibility to protect the integrity of the sport in terms of its statutes.
Jordaan also pointed out that football associations have the responsibility to recognise and report any possible match manipulation in competitions involving their national teams.
After SAFA receives the detailed explanation for turning down their protest, their team of legal experts will likely examine the report and follow up with an appeal.
The relevant Article 46 deals with protests, and briefly, it states:
1 Association and their clubs are entitled to lodge protests. Protests must reach the Disciplinary Committee in writing, indicating the relevant grounds, within 24 hours of the end of the match in question.
2 The 24-hour time limit cannot be extended. For the sake of the smooth running of the competition, the corresponding competition regulations may shorten the protest deadline accordingly.
3 (c) an obvious error by the referee as defined in article 9 of this Code, in which case the protest may be directed only at the disciplinary consequences of the referee’s obvious error.
It would seem that SAFA's legal team may focus on 3 (c) of Article 46 since their report is essentially about the consequences of the referee’s obvious error.