McLeod was an ‘iconic’ Safa referee and a ‘true gentleman’
SOUTH African soccer fans are mourning the death of referee
Ian McLeod, who was the first to represent the country at a world cup, in 1998.
The 63-year-old died on Thursday night after being admitted to hospital last week.
Former SA Football Association (Safa) vice president Mubarak Mohamed described McLeod as an icon who conducted himself with respect and humility on and off the field.
Mohamed said he had known McLeod for more than four decades and first met in the amateur division.
“He was an iconic referee in Durban, very dedicated. He was committed to developing other referees. I appointed him to officiate at the Premier Soccer League level after having so much faith in him because I knew what he was capable of.
“He has never disappointed. He has never been found in any allegations of corruption. The standard that he set will become more difficult for others to emulate. I lost a colleague and a mentor in him,” Mohamed said.
McLeod refereed many intense Soweto derbies between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs. He was revered as a no-nonsense referee. He would flash a wide smile while pointing to a penalty spot and was never afraid to send players off with red cards.
“He handled those games very well. We did not think twice on who to appoint for the big matches,” Mohamed said.
Safa chief executive Dennis Mumble described McLeod as a true gentleman who would be sorely missed in the football fraternity.
At his time of death, he had been serving as a match commissioner for Safa.
“Ian was a perfect gentleman, never angry with anyone and always smiling.
“He will be extremely missed by the entire football family. We are really saddened by the passing away of Ian,” said Mumble.
A former school teacher who worked with McLeod at Durban North’s Virginia Preparatory School said he had been a kind man.
Teacher Kim Petzer said McLeod had been popular with teachers, pupils and general staff alike for the seven years he spent at the school between 1993 and 2000.
He later relocated to Crawford Schools, where he taught on both the Durban and Pretoria campuses in the early 2000s.
“McLeod had a deep love for working with children and he became the beloved principal of thousands of pupils. We wish to extend our sincere condolences to his wife
Judy, his sons Michael and Jason, as well as his Crawford family of colleagues and pupils,” the school said.
Ian McLeod shares a lighter moment with then-Maritzburg United coach Roger de Sa in February at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.