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Cape Town Spurs write to minister of sport for match officiating to be professionalised

Referee Victor Gomes in action during a DStv Premiership game between Cape Town City and Swallows FC in February last year

FILE - Referee Victor Gomes in action during a DStv Premiership game between Cape Town City and Swallows FC in February last year. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Apr 22, 2022

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Johannesburg — Cape Town Spurs have penned a heart-felt letter to the office of the minister of sport Nathi Mthethwa, requesting for match officiating to be professionalised in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

“Match officiating in South Africa needs to be professionalised without any further delay. Officials need to become full-time employees and be given some dignity,” the statement read on Spurs’ official Facebook page.

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“Not only can they contribute to the coffers of the South African Revenue Service in a more meaningful way, but they can also become the beneficiaries of basic employment benefits.”

The PSL referees, which are responsible for officiating for games played by all the 32 teams in the league, are part-time workers. Although they are trained by the mother body, the South African Football Association, some have full-time jobs.

The working class is able to officiate matches by taking special leaves from their workplace, with mostly being educators and police officers on a full-time basis.

As a result of not being permanent, they are paid as they work, with no fixed monthly income from the mother body or its special member the league.

Spurs feels that this is an "an ideal breeding ground for unscrupulous behaviour and low quality officiating".

“One cannot expect officials to be on a match to match ‘pay as you play’ basis without a fixed monthly income that they can count on month after month," Spurs said.

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"The current status is an ideal breeding ground for unscrupulous behaviour and low-quality officiating.

“It could be that accepting all sorts of favours is the only way for some to feed their families and stay afloat. It could also be that the officials need better training so as to make a career out of football and beyond.”

With no use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in all structures of local football, there’ve been a lot of questionable decisions from the officials, resulting in unfair advantage at times.

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“The points for the clubs are lost forever. Suspensions don’t help clubs in any way. It’s a lose-lose for them because no matter the result, their obligations to meet their financial commitments for players and staff cannot be suspended due to bad results,” Spurs said.

“Clubs can no longer be expected to purely dismiss bad decisions week in and week out as these “mistakes” end up costing them millions of Rand every season.”

It is crunch time for all the 32 teams in the professional league as they are fighting for a certain cause: either to win the championship, finish in the top three, finish in the top-eight or more importantly avoid relegation.

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@Mihlalibaleka

IOL Sport

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