refs face grilling

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

Some referees could lose their positions after the National Referees Committee decided to assess the whistlemen every three months instead of every 12 months as in the past.

NRC chairman Kirsten Nematendani said they wanted to keep referees on their toes all the time and to improve the standard of refereeing in the country.

"Nobody is guaranteed a place in the elite league, only performance will be a deciding factor," he said.

"The elite referees panel is based on last season's performance, but this time it is not going to be easy for any of them. They will be facing challenges from the youngsters who have also shown dedication to the game."

Carlos Henriques, head of the referees department said: "It's going to be a relegation and promotion format. If the referee in the elite league panel does not perform he will be relegated to the supplementary referees panel.

"There is going to be some reshuffling in these panels and that will make the whistlemen competitive."

Nematendani yesterday released the list of officials for the 2008-2009 soccer season.

The panel lists comprise of international Fifa and CAF, Premier League and the First Division, which is known as the supplementary panel.

"The various panels were finalised based on the performance of each individual last season and were therefore rated accordingly," Nematendani said.

"We also took into consideration passes and failures in the fitness tests. It is also this panel that feeds Fifa call-ups and the Premier League. Those who are in the Fifa panel are assessed and approved by the world body itself."

He was disappointed about the number of referees who failed the Safa national fitness tests last week.

"This is unacceptable. We have had 13 referees who failed the tests, with three of them from the Premier League panel. The majority of the failures are assistant referees. Those who were in the elite panel have already been demoted to the First Division panel."