Referees not sacred cows: Safa

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

The South African Football Association national referees committee chairman, Kirsten Nematandani, says referees are not beyond reproach and will be punished if they fail to enforce the laws of the game.

His comments come in the wake of some shocking decisions by match officials this season where they failed to punish players who rough up opponents - in some cases with career-threatening tackles.

Some of the referees got away with "murder" because no referee has been suspended so far this season.

Jonas Nhlapo surprised all and sundry when he failed to punish Kaizer Chiefs goalie Itumeleng Khune after he kicked Moroka Swallows forward Morgan Shivambo in their league match on Sunday.

Steve Goddard, chairman of Safa's referees review committee, could not comment about this matter yesterday because they had not reviewed the encounter.

He cited a backlog caused by the ongoing seminar on the laws of the game as the reason for the delay.

Nematandani emphasised that they had ways to punish wayward match officials.

He said referees could be removed from the elite panel to the lower one and it could be difficult for them to return to the top.

"Our referees don't transgress the laws of the game but the players do," Nematandani said.

"We have a points system for referees and we deduct points after they commit mistakes.

They will reach a point where they are left with points that will demote them from the elite panel to the supplementary panel."