Match officials have been regular targets for bribes as they hold the power to influence the outcome of matches in which they officiate.
Referees have been made susceptible to bribery because of the little money they get paid per game. For example, in a game in which millions are at stake, the man in the middle will be paid just over R6 100.
In an effort to prevent match officials from being contacted by unethical club officials in the DStv Premiership and GladAfrica Championship, the South African Football Association (Safa) head of referees Abdul Ebrahim said that the identity of assigned match officials will only be revealed an hour before games.
“Unfortunately, it is what it is, and we have to be vigilant,” said Ebrahim as quoted by The Citizens as the Premiership and second-tier league reaches the business end.
“We have put a few measures in place to ensure smooth sailing to the end of the season because the stakes are high. Our officials have been warned to be vigilant and report any activities and approaches.
“Even our match commissioners have been told not to release the names of the match officials during pre-match meetings – until an hour or so before kick off.”
Amidst the negativity around match officials regarding their below-par performances, Ebrahim said that it is important to keep them motivated.
“So far, we are happy with their conduct and output. We talk to them regularly to make sure they are in a good state of mind.
Cheating in sport has been in existence for as long as human beings have competed against each other in organised competitions. Bribery in sport, be it football or rugby has existed for decades.
“Our objectives are aimed at ensuring that, throughout any given season, fairness, consistency, and uniformity in the application of the law of the game and the manner in which these are executed are implemented and maintained.
“While the stakes invariably become high at this stage of the season, where the competition intensifies, this does not in any way detract from our obligations and the commitment to ensure that our officials apply themselves diligently within the framework of their officiating obligations.”
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By FARPost Reporter