Fo­cus on refs as Byo City, FC Plat­inum clash Refs im­ple­men­ta­tion of new foot­ball ques­tioned

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Sikhum­buzo Moyo Se­nior Sports Reporter Sikhum­buzo Moyo Se­nior Sports Reporter

FO­CUS will be on the ref­er­ees when Bulawayo City plays host to vis­it­ing FC Plat­inum in a league match set for Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium this af­ter­noon.

A war of words erupted fol­low­ing Chicken Inn’s 0-1 loss to the Mid­lands giants af­ter some ap­palling of­fi­ci­at­ing by Gweru based ref­eree Thomas Massa that saw the home side be­ing de­nied two penal­ties while mid­fielder Tha­bani Gore­dema was red carded.

Chicken Inn went bal­lis­tic and threat­ened to have the league sus­pended un­til proper ref­er­ees’ struc­tures were put in place and Massa banned from ref­er­ee­ing.

The storm sucked in Zifa vice pres­i­dent Omega Sibanda af­ter FC Plat­inum hit back and ac­cused him of un­pro­fes­sion­al­ism even though Sibanda only called for fair of­fi­ci­at­ing by ref­er­ees.

A Bulawayo City of­fi­cial Ed­die Chivero, who is the lia­son of­fi­cer for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity side, came to the de­fence of Sibanda.

“The guilty are al­ways afraid, what wrong did the Zifa vice pres­i­dent com­mit? He only chal­lenged ref­er­ees to be pro­fes­sional in their han­dling of matches. All he wants is fair­ness to all teams in­clud­ing FC Plat­inum,” said Chivero.

In April Cha­pungu sus­pended their as­sis­tant coach Cle­ment Mu­gari for al­leg­ing that FC Plat­inum bribe ref­er­ees. Mean­while, Bulawayo City coach Ncube said his boys are ready to re­venge fol­low­ing their de­feat by FC Plat­inum at Man­dava two weeks ago.

Speak­ing to sport­szone, Ncube said the re­verse fix­ture at Man­dava Sta­dium was the first half and today’s match is the last stanza.

“We are ready for them and we are go­ing to play. I want to beat Plat­inum with the same score-line at BF (Bar­bour­fields). They were very lucky to have col­lected max­i­mum points against us.

“It’s a game of two halves. They played their first half at Man­dava and the sec­ond half will be in Bulawayo. They man­aged to utilise their home ad­van­tage and we are go­ing to do the same,” said Ncube. CON­FU­SION in the ref­er­ees’ ad­min­is­tra­tive struc­tures has re­sulted in fail­ure by some match of­fi­cials to im­ple­ment a num­ber of changes in the laws of the game.

This has seen some in­con­sis­ten­cies in the ap­pli­ca­tion of the rules as some ref­er­ees are still us­ing old reg­u­la­tions which are no longer ap­pli­ca­ble.

“What was sup­posed to be done was for the ref­er­ees to be schooled into the new rules in a proper work­shop but noth­ing of that sort hap­pened re­sult­ing in all the in­con­sis­ten­cies we are see­ing,” said a ref­eree.

He called on Zifa to ex­pe­dite the ap­point­ment of a sub­stan­tive ref­er­ees com­mit­tee which at the mo­ment has no chair­per­son. Premier Soc­cer League chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Kennedy Nde­bele han­dles the ref­er­ees’ ap­point­ments.

New Foot­ball Rules CHANGE 1: Kick-off The kick-off restart can now go backwards. The ball no longer has to go for­ward at kick-off. The previous law stated the ball had to go into the op­po­si­tion half at the restart, but it has been changed to al­low it to move in any di­rec­tion, as long as it “clearly moves”. This change has paved the way for one-man kick-offs. CHANGE 2: Pre-match red cards It will now be pos­si­ble to get a red card be­fore the match starts.

Ref­er­ees will be able to give a player a red card be­fore the match kicks off. This al­lows of­fi­cials to pun­ish red­card of­fences (e.g. vi­o­lent con­duct) in the warm-up or as the two teams line up in the tun­nel. The new law states a player may be sent off any time be­tween the pre-match in­spec­tion and when the ref­eree leaves the field at the end of the game. CHANGE 3: An end to the “triple-pun­ish­ment law” Play­ers may only re­ceive a yel­low card if they con­cede a penalty

The previous “triple-pun­ish­ment” law meant a player who de­nied a goal-scor­ing op­por­tu­nity in the box was au­to­mat­i­cally red-carded and handed a sus­pen­sion, as well as giv­ing away a penalty.

The law has now been changed so play­ers com­mit­ting ac­ci­den­tal fouls that deny goal-scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in the penalty area will not be au­to­mat­i­cally sent off, with a yel­low card suf­fi­cient pun­ish­ment.

As the amend­ment states: “When a de­nial of a goalscor­ing op­por­tu­nity of­fence is com­mit­ted by a de­fender in the penalty area, the penalty kick ef­fec­tively re­stores the goalscor­ing op­por­tu­nity so the pun­ish­ment for the player should be less strong (e.g. a yel­low card) than when the of­fence is com­mit­ted out­side the penalty area. How­ever, when the of­fence is hand­ball or clearly not a gen­uine at­tempt to play or chal­lenge for the ball, the player will be sent off.” CHANGE 4: Treat­ing in­juries Play­ers will be able to re­ceive treat­ment quickly on the pitch if they are in­jured in a chal­lenge that re­sults in a yel­low or red card.

If a player is fouled and hurt by an op­po­nent who sub­se­quently re­ceives a yel­low or red card for the chal­lenge, the in­jured player may be quickly treated on the pitch with­out the need to leave the field of play.

It was widely seen as un­fair that a player in­jured by a se­ri­ous foul was forced off the pitch for treat­ment, tem­po­rar­ily plac­ing the fouled team at a nu­mer­i­cal dis­ad­van­tage. CHANGE 5: Chang­ing boots/equip­ment As­sis­tant ref­er­ees or fourth of­fi­cials will be able to check play­ers be­fore they re­turn to the pitch

A player who briefly leaves the field (e.g. to change boots) may have his new boots checked by an as­sis­tant ref­eree or fourth of­fi­cial be­fore re­turn­ing to play.

Pre­vi­ously, the player re­quired the ref­eree’s per­mis­sion to re­turn. CHANGE 6: Penal­ties Feint­ing once the run-up is com­plete will re­sult in a yel­low card for the taker

Among sev­eral mi­nor changes to the laws re­gard­ing penal­ties, po­ten­tially the most in­ter­est­ing is the amend­ment to yel­low card a penalty taker who “il­le­gally feints” once his run-up is com­plete. This means slow­ing to a stop im­me­di­ately be­fore shoot­ing is not al­lowed, with a yel­low card and an in­di­rect free-kick to the op­po­si­tion the re­sult.

The law does stress feint­ing dur­ing a run-up is still per­mit­ted.

CHANGE 7: In­fringe­ments by sub­sti­tutes/team of­fi­cials

To ad­dress what was threat­en­ing to be­come a grow­ing trend, the law has been changed so that if play is stopped due to interference from a team of­fi­cial or sub­sti­tute, rather than the award of an in­di­rect free-kick or drop ball, the ref­eree will now award a free-kick or penalty kick to the op­po­si­tion. CHANGE 8: Colour of un­der­gar­ments The new rule states un­der­shorts/tights must be the same colour as the main colour of the shorts or the low­est part of the shorts. This takes into ac­count shorts with a dif­fer­ent coloured hem.

Un­der­shirts must still be the same colour as the main colour of the shirt sleeve. CHANGE 9: Off­side The off­side rule has once again been clar­i­fied. A cou­ple of mi­nor clar­i­fi­ca­tions to the off­side rule. The law now states the half­way line is neu­tral, mean­ing a player must have part of the body (ex­clud­ing arms or hands) in the op­po­nents’ half to be flagged off­side.

A free-kick re­sult­ing from an off­side will now al­ways take place where the of­fence is com­mit­ted. CHANGE 10: Hand­balls Yel­low cards will be awarded when hand­balls pre­vent a promis­ing at­tack­ing op­por­tu­nity

In an ef­fort to stop ref­er­ees bran­dish­ing yel­low cards for ev­ery hand­ball, “pre­vent­ing an op­po­nent gain­ing pos­ses­sion” has been re­moved from the list of book­able of­fences.

Hand­ball is now a yel­low card of­fence when “it stops/ in­ter­feres with a promis­ing at­tack”. CHANGE 11: Res­tarts When tak­ing a cor­ner, the ball must clearly move. The phrase “clearly moves” has been added to the law on res­tarts, mean­ing at­tempts to trick the op­po­si­tion by lightly tap­ping the ball at a cor­ner (or free-kick) and then drib­bling will come to an end. This amend­ment is part of a re­newed em­pha­sis on what con­sti­tutes sport­ing be­hav­iour “within the spirit of the game”.

CHANGE 12: Player be­hav­iour Ref­er­ees have been asked to clamp down on sit­u­a­tions when play­ers con­test their de­ci­sions

Ref­er­ees have been urged to take a stronger stand on “in­tol­er­a­ble be­hav­iour” by play­ers fol­low­ing a joint state­ment by the Premier League, English Foot­ball League and FA.

Run­ning to con­test de­ci­sions, ar­gu­ing face-to-face with of­fi­cials, and “vis­i­bly dis­re­spect­ful” ac­tions will re­sult in yel­low cards.

Red cards will be is­sued to play­ers who con­front of­fi­cials and use in­sult­ing and/or of­fen­sive lan­guage or ges­tures towards them.

The aim is to “re­duce dis­re­spect­ful con­duct such as ag­gres­sively chal­leng­ing de­ci­sions or run­ning from dis­tance to con­front an of­fi­cial.”

Zim­babwe cap­tain Felis­tas Kwangwa (GD) makes a catch as she de­fends a Malawi at­tack at the Univer­sity of Botswana Sports Arena

Kennedy Nde­bele

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