Black Leopards chairman David Thidiela says he has apologised to referee Victor Hlungwani. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – The SA Football Association say they are disappointed by Black Leopards chairman David Thidiela’s “flagrant abuse of the match official” Victor Hlungwani following their 1-0 defeat to Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday.

Football website FARPost SA posted audio of Thidiela blasting Hlungwani’s officiating, which Safa said was “an attack peppered by open tribal undertones”.

An angry Thidiela is heard saying: “I’m giving you the last warning. You come here at your own risk. I’m tired, Hlungwani, I’m tired. I’m saying this before the media.

“Hlungwani‚ please, we can do without you. I’m asking you‚ please my brother‚ don’t come. Wherever we are playing‚ don’t go. Go and do the other games.

“I’m going to write a letter tomorrow, to the league. It will also go to Safa. I’m going to also tell (Safa president) Danny Jordaan. I can’t run this business.

“We are not a violent people, but don’t push me where it don’t belong... He’s a Shangaan. A Shangaan do (sic) this!”

Safa said in a statement on Tuesday that they have asked Hlungwani to provide a report, “upon which we will begin instituting disciplinary measures against Mr Thidiela”.

“The South African Football Association would like to condemn in the strongest terms the (verbal) attack on referee Victor Hlungwani by Black Leopards owner Mr David Thidiela following the home side’s loss to Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday, 16 September 2018.

“As Safa, we are disappointed by Mr Thidiela’s flagrant abuse of the match official, an attack peppered by open tribal undertones.

“This behaviour by the Leopards owner is against the basic norm of a football match as enshrined by the world governing body Fifa’s Fair Play.

“Any intimidation on match officials by a club owner will, under no circumstances be tolerated.”

Thidiela told Robert Marawa on the Marawa Sports Worldwide show on Radio 2000 on Monday night that he had phoned Hlungwani and offered an apology, and he said that the referee had forgiven him.

The 67-year-old Thidiela added that he was going to hold a family meeting, as he felt that he wants to leave football and sell the club.

He also felt that he should not be punished by Safa or the PSL, as he had apologised to Hlungwani “after realising his mistake”.

The Premier Soccer League also expressed their unhappiness with Thidiela’s comments, and said that the club boss “has been afforded an opportunity to respond to this matter and provide such information as may be relevant”.

The PSL executive committee and the league’s highest decision-making body, the Board of Governors, will discuss the matter at a meeting on Thursday.

Referee Victor Hlungwani will submit a report to the SA Football Association following the incident with Black Leopards chairman David Thidiela. Photo: Steve Haag/BackpagePix

Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa also added her dismay to Thidiela’s comments.

“As the Ministry of Sport and Recreation, we can’t allow what is meant to unite us as a nation sport to divide us. There is no place in our country for tribalism. Many people perished not only in our country, but in our continent,” Xasa said.

“Football is known all over the world as a ‘beautiful game’. We don’t need those who are owners of teams to spoil that. Let us use sport to build social cohesion amongst our people, not divide them along dangerous tribal lines.”

 

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