Extra official to police offsides mooted

SUPERMEN: The Fifa strategic committee. Pic. Kurt Schorrer. 09/10/2007. © Foto-net.
SUPERMEN: The Fifa strategic committee. Pic. Kurt Schorrer. 09/10/2007. © Foto-net.

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The world soccer governing body, Fifa, is toying with the idea of introducing a third assistant referee to deal mainly with offsides during a match.

This is one of the issues tabled on Tuesday at the first meeting of the new Fifa strategic committee of which Irvin Khoza, PSL chairman, is a member.

The committee, which is chaired by French soccer icon Michel Platini, also has other heavyweights such as Sepp Blatter, Issa Hayatou and Ricardo Teixeira as members.

Khoza, chairman of the 2010 Local Organising Committee, and Richard Scudamore of the Football Association of England are representing their leagues on the committee.

"One of the things that was discussed was the use of a third assistant referee whose main task will be to monitor offsides.

"There is a study on the issue of an extra assistant referee that Fifa will experiment with at a soccer tournament in Japan later this year."

The influx of foreign players in countries where there is professional soccer, with clubs paying huge salaries, is a cause for concern for Fifa.

"It has been referred to the executive committee, but what Fifa is saying is that home-grown players should also be given a chance," said Khoza.

On a matter similar to that of Benoni Premier United, who relocated to KwaZulu-Natal from Daveyton after changing ownership, Khoza said Fifa were worried because such moves have serious economic implications for the local communities.

"There is a case similar to that of Benoni somewhere in Europe. The argument is that you can't uproot the whole team from the community by relocating to another area.

"It has also been referred to the executive committee for a decision," said Khoza.

He said the executive will also deal with the issue pertaining to players' insurances. There is a big debate going on on who should be responsible for the players' insurance when they are on national duty.

On the issue of the player versus country furore, Khoza said Fifa felt that it was important for the players to represent their countries in recognised competitions.

"The argument here is that it is important for the players to represent their countries, because that will also be good for the development of sport. But competitions like the Cosafa Cup are not part of Fifa, so people should not expect it to take preference when clubs are also playing."