PSL DEFENDS REFEREES’ APPOINTMENTS
THE Castle Lager Premier Soccer League has defended its takeover of referees’ appointments, saying the decision was aimed at protecting the sponsors and the country’s football flagship.
Kennedy Ndebele, PSL chief executive officer, said they took over the referees’ appointments last month after the Zifa secretariat was “dissolved” following the formation of the short-lived National Football Association of Zimbabwe (Nafaz). Former Zifa referees’ desk manager Obert Mamvura, who was left out in the cold with all members of the secretariat during the turbulent times that led to the ill-fated Nafaz, used to make the appointments in the absence of a referees’ committee. Defending champions Chicken Inn questioned the league’s appointment of referees following their 0-1 loss to FC Platinum when they accused Gweru-based match official Thomas Massa of being biased. The Gamecocks’ argument was that the PSL appointed a referee from the same province as FC Platinum for the rescheduled game, instead of bringing Hwange officials that were initially supposed to handle the original fixture before its cancellation a few weeks back. Ndebele said: “The reason we’re doing the appointments is because in the absence of the (Zifa) referees’ committee, the head or the referees’ desk manager within the association has to do them. Through my experience in trying to assist with the appointment of referees, I found out that there is so much amusement on who will be in the centre before the game such that those interests overshadow even news of Manchester United buying Paul Pogba. “The problem is that a referees’ committee hasn’t been in place since the beginning of the year. I’m the one who has been appointing referees and the Zifa president knows the system of appointment which we made during the Nafaz days. What we’re going through is a situation that we’re not comfortable with, but given that we had a responsibility to protect our sponsors and have our league running, we accepted the responsibility of appointing referees.” He said after Nafaz suffered a stillbirth, Zifa reverted to the previous status quo, meaning that Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa is the head of secretariat.
Chiyangwa had during the ill-fated Nafaz days appointed PSL chairman Peter Dube as head of the referees’ committee, something which was against regulations on the organisation of refereeing in Fifa member associations.
Article 4 of the regulations says: “… members may not be affiliated to any clubs, league or any other football organisation.”
Ndebele refuted claims that Dube was involved in the appointment of match officials, saying he is the only one doing it.
“Technically as it stands, the Zifa president heads the referees committee because the status quo at Zifa went back to what it was on June 3, following a decision to revert back to Zifa from Nafaz. All committees appointed during Nafaz fell by the wayside when the association reverted to Zifa. I must categorically state that I as the chief executive of the league have been doing appointments and never has there been a time where I’ve involved the chairman of the league or any other person. I will continue to discharge these duties with utmost professionalism to ensure that football benefits until the Zifa president, who is technically head of the referees’ committee, sets up that committee,” Ndebele said.
Without the referees’ committee, it has been difficult to classify the referees in each category on the basis of their performance in selected matches and propose promotions or demotions.
Other duties of the referees’ committee are to appoint match officials, nominate candidates for the international list that are eligible to officiate at international matches, according to Fifa regulations governing the registration of international referees, assistant referees, futsal referees and beach soccer referees on Fifa lists.
The referees’ committee also has to ensure that local referees comply with standard refereeing methods as established by Fifa to e ns u r e uniform implementation of the laws of the game, approve the referee instructor and assessor panels as well as approve administrative regulations governing refereeing. Zimbabwe referees are in danger of being kicked out of the international panel as they are yet to undergo training clinics to familiarise themselves with new changes in the game because there is no referees’ committee to organise such programmes. Ndebele took a swipe at officials that attacked referees and applauded match officials for their practice. “As a league, we appreciate that the referees and match commissioners have done a commendable job in application of the rules of the game and making sure that they even submit match reports on time, save for a few incidents. The league doesn’t condone poor officiating, but condemns officials who intimidate referees,” said Ndebele.