boost for whistlemen

Meshack Motloung and Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Meshack Motloung and Mcelwa Nchabeleng

The South African Football Association plans to establish a professional referees panel that will be introduced in the 2009-2010 season.

This was revealed by Safa's national referees' committee chairman Kirsten Nematendani yesterday.

Nematendani said they believe that having match officials on a full-time basis will improve the standard of refereeing in the professional league.

He said countries such as France, Italy, Germany and the UK have such a set-up, and that the US has just established theirs.

"We will need to have structures in place and quality personnel to manage and monitor the referees and their assistants on and off the field," said the referees' boss.

Asked if he was happy with what the match officials were paid, he said it was satisfactory.

"I would be lying if I say they are not paid well. They have been getting a stipend of R2000 every month and we are busy negotiating for an increase. You must consider that we have a few referees in our panel," said Nematendani.

However, he would not say how much match officials earn per assignment.

He referred us to Ace Ncobo, the PSL's general manager, who could not be reached for comment as he was said to be in a meeting.

Kjetil Siem, PSL chief executive, could also not be reached as he was reported to be out of the country.

But referees are said to be earning about R2 800 per match in the Absa Premiership, while their assistants and fourth officials take home about R2 400 each. In a good month a match official rakes in more than R20 000.

Nematendani said they were concerned about mistakes committed by referees, but he stressed that they will try to minimise these through training courses and workshops.

Former PSL referee Ronnie Marule said some of the match officials were not getting enough rest, hence the glaring mistakes at times.

"Safa needs to work on the weaknesses of referees and not to appoint a referee on Sunday and Wednesday to officiate in big and tough matches. They should create a bigger pool of referees to chose from," he said yesterday.