Caf suspend 2 referees, linesman
CAIRO — Two referees and one linesman have been suspended for three months and publicly criticised by African soccer’s governing body while another has been warned, following their performances in recent World Cup qualifiers.
Ghanaian Joseph Lamptey was suspended after the Confederation of African Football (Caf) said he wrongly awarded South Africa a penalty in their 2-1 win over Senegal on November 12.
Kenya’s Davies Omweno was also barred for his performance in Tunisia’s 1-0 win over Libya and his assistant Berhe O’Michael of Eritrea was banned after Caf said he had denied Libya a valid goal by waving for offside.
Caf ’s public shaming of the match officials is highly unusual in international soccer.
World governing body Fifa and its European counterpart Uefa, for example, maintain policies of never commenting publicly on the performances of
SOUTH Africa’s captain Faf du Plessis has been found guilty of ball-tampering and fined his entire match fee from the Hobart Test, but will be free to play in Adelaide this week.
The charge, laid by ICC chief executive David Richardson, related to clause 2.2.9 of the ICC’s Code of Conduct, which deals with “changing the condition of the ball” in breach of the Laws of Cricket. The Laws of Cricket, in turn, allow that players may “polish the ball provided that no artificial substance is used and that such polishing wastes no time”.
In laying the charge, the ICC had said that “TV footage appeared to show du Plessis applying saliva and residue from a mint or sweet, an artificial substance, to the ball in an attempt to change its condition” during the Hobart Test. Du Plessis pleaded not guilty to the charge and faced a lengthy hearing before ICC match referee Andy Pycroft in Adelaide yesterday.
Yesterday, the ICC said in a statement: “The decision was based on the evidence given from the umpires, who confirmed that had they seen the incident they would have taken action immediately, and from Mr Stephenson [MCC head of cricket John Stephenson], who confirmed the view of MCC that the television footage showed an artificial substance being transferred to the ball.”
In addition to the fine, three demerit points have been added to the disciplinary record of du Plessis for what was deemed a first offence. If du Plessis reaches four or more demerit points within a twoyear period, they will be converted into suspension points and he would face a ban.
Cricket South Africa has confirmed that du Plessis, who had been represented by CSA’s legal counsel via teleconference, would appeal the verdict. He has 48 hours from the time of receipt of the written decision to lodge his objections.
An appeal would require the matter to be heard from the beginning by a judicial commissioner, who can then increase, decrease or amend the sanction in accordance with the punishments for the particular breach.
The maximum penalty for a level 2 breach is a 100 percent match fee fine and two suspension points, which equates to being banned for one Test. In essence, du Plessis would therefore be risking a ban by attempting to clear his name.
Du Plessis’ stoicism in his own innocence has echoed around the South African squad all week. Yesterday, coach Russell Domingo confirmed, prior to the hearing, that the entire touring party was “standing by our captain.” The squad was at the Adelaide Oval for the full duration of du Plessis’ referees and linesmen.
Caf, on the other hand, said that Lamptey was guilty of “poor performance” in his match and “awarded a wrong penalty for handball despite the fact that the ball never touched the hand of the player”.
Lamptey previously served a six-month ban for wrongly awarding a goal during a Caf Champions League semi-final in 2010.
Omweno was also criticised for a “poor performance” which Caf said included “wrong positioning and movement, incorrect identification of fouls and failure to administer some disciplinary sanctions”.
His assistant O’Michael was barred for “offside decisions including one denying a valid goal by Libya”.
The other linesman in the match, Rwanda’s Theogene Ndagijimana, was given a warning. Caf said he “missed multiple basic offside decisions which denied teams promising attacks”. — Reuters
Faf du Plessis