Zifa clears match officials

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter

ZIFA Referees’ Committee chairperson Bryton Malandule says no action will be taken against the referees at the centre of the chaos that rocked three Premiership football matches last week.

Brighton Chimene came under the spotlight after Dynamos fans caused mayhem at Rufaro after the referee turned down what appeared a genuine penalty call against FC Platinum.

The match between Chicken Inn and CAPS United was marred by violence and destruction of property over another refereeing decision by Happy Mabhena.

Highlanders also had issues with the red card to their star player Prince Dube in their match against ZPC Kariba.

“We have studied the reports of alleged biased match officiating or incompetent refereeing that was witnessed in the past two weeks,” said Malandule.

“We do not just punish officials if there is no evidence that there is a clear and obvious mistake by the match official and the mistake is such that it changes the outcome of the game.

“In all those three games, and having gone through the match commissioners’ reports, there was no clear and obvious mistakes on the part of the referees.

“What are we saying, as Zimbabwe football fraternity, are referees now not free to make decisions that they feel should be made?

“We have, during the course of the year, punished some referees who had not been up to standard after having gone through the match commissioners’ reports.

“No amount of missile-throwing can change the decision of the referee. What the fans are only doing is just to cost their teams in terms of fines.”

Malandule, who is an ex-elite referee, also refuted claims that local referees are under-qualified.

“The whole of September we were very busy training match officials. We held three FIFA courses.

“We started with elite referees where we selected about 35 Premier Soccer League officials, including those that are on the FIFA panel.

“We had instructors from FIFA including one of our own, Felix Tangawarima.

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