Phillips out to overhaul refs

Sipho Mthembu

Sipho Mthembu

The uproar over poor refereeing in the Premier Soccer League has added urgency to chief executive Trevor Phillips' plan to privatise professional refereeing.

Phillips has a proposal to be tabled at the PSL-South African Football Association Joint Liaison Committee wherein he argues for an independent referees' structure.

"This structure should have its own managing director and staff. Those referees currently holding permanent jobs will keep them and those who don't must be given full-time employment," he said. "It has never been this urgent that we do something about refereeing."

Phillips first dropped hints of his brainchild almost two seasons ago.

"An independent structure will ensure recruitment, that the referees go through all required refresher courses, physical conditioning and improve the general levels of education," Phillips said.

"Some of our referees cannot write a match report in English. They need to go through report writing courses, which only an independent body can offer."

Phillips believes there are some world-class referees in South Africa, but "there is not enough depth. We are a bit stretched on resources, which is why we are sometimes forced to use certain referees over and over and it leads to suspicion."

While Phillips' proposal has been accepted by the league's executive, in principle, there were doubts as some were wary of the structure ending up under the control of wealthy clubs.

Phillips was not sure if Safa would have the final decision on the matter or if it would be referred to the newly formed commercial wing.