Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ricky Zililo

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.

Tawengwa Hara

Kennedy Nde­bele

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