SAFA ponders introducing full-time refs

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SAFA is pondering on introducing full-time referees, a move that would be expected to enhance officiating in the domestic game.

The country’s football mother body wants to create an elite team of referees that will serve as match officials on a full-time basis. Local officials are not full-time professionals and are at liberty to pursue gainful employment opportunities.

Ari Sodatos, chairperson of Refereeing Appointments at SAFA, revealed they would look into the issue “in due course”.

“We would like, in due course, to consider the introduction of full time refereeing as we believe that this will go a considerable way to enhancing the game and improving officiating overall,” he told FARPost.

He said local officials, like many individuals, have been adversely impacted by the ongoing coronavirus crisis that has shut the door on all football activities. Local refs are remunerated for games in which they officiate.

“Having regard to the fact that there have been no matches undertaken since mid-March there has, naturally, been no match fee payable. I am not certain whether SAFA has taken any steps to assist them over this period, as this falls outside of my domain,” he said, referring all questions to SAFA’s acting Chief Executive, Mr Tebogo Mokoena.

He revealed that some of the officials qualify to receive a monthly stipend from the PSL.

“There is also a payment which is made of generous sums to officials who succeed in being awarded the Referee and Assistant Referee of the year,” he added.

He said concluding the season is the association’s top priority “but not at the cost of the wellbeing and safety of our football fraternity”.

SAFA announced that its joint liaison committee has agreed on protocols for the resumption of football in the country. The committee met on Monday at SAFA House and agreed that both the SAFA president Danny Jordaan and National Soccer League (NSL) chairperson Irvin Khoza must report back to the Minister of Sport Nathi Mthethwa on the protocols for the return to play.

The two have also been mandated to meet and brief the ministers of Health and Transport, Dr Zweli Mkhize and Fikile Mbalula, on what needed to be done in the case of football returning to play.

Meanwhile, Morocco’s football federation paid its refs a relief package of R10,500 recently while Zimbabwe’s football association handed its national officials R1,400 to cushion them during the ongoing crisis.

RELATED STORY: Morocco referees whistle to the bank

By Mthokozisi Dube

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