South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan says match officials work in a high pressure environment and there is an urgent need to professionalise them in the country.
Jordaan shared these views on Thursday afternoon after MultiChoice Group announced a five-year sponsorship agreement with Safa to support the more than 40‚ 000 referees under the sports mother body as part of Project Equity.
“One thing that is happening in football is that when you go to a PSL match‚ there are professional players‚ professional coaches and the only amateur on the field is in fact the referee‚” Jordaan said.
“Because of Video Assistant Referee (VAR)‚ because of the developments on how matches are broadcast with frame by frame replays‚ it means that the referee is more under scrutiny than the players.”
Jordaan said professionalising the industry will ensure that referees are duly rewarded financially like their counterparts in some of the best leagues around the world.
“Their training must improve and the rewards for the referee must improve‚ in fact the whole environment must move to very close to full professional‚" he said.
"It is something that is on the table that we must discuss. At the moment referees receive about R24 000 a month and in England it is much more‚ but you also have to take into account the ratio of the rand to the pound.
"It is a discussion that we will have to make sure that referees are rewarded for the pressure in this job. It is a very high pressure job and we appreciate that.”
MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela was pleased after the announcement of the partnership.
“We are pleased to be involved in what we believe is a monumental win for South African soccer‚ that will truly elevate match officiating across all levels‚ from grass roots to the DStv Premiership and beyond‚ ultimately enabling the best local talent to participate on a global stage‚” he said.
“The partnership between MultiChoice and SAFA is critical as it allow us to fulfill our development mandate that is key in improving the quality of football officiating‚ sustainably feeding the talent pipeline of football officials."
"We are proud that we continue to make significant strides in inclusivity‚ by also growing female football‚” concluded Jordaan.