Bad ref should be sanctioned but why punish us as well?

Credit: Mark Wiggett
Credit: Mark Wiggett

Fifa have played the man and not the ball in ordering a replay for South Africa's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Senegal 10 months later.

It's a decision that smacks of unfairness in a sense that, "the decision is final and without appeal". Laughable.

It takes me back to what former Safa CEO Leslie Sedibe said about a year ago after Fifa banned him for five years.

This followed its investigation into match-fixing in friendlies Bafana Bafana were involved in prior to the 2010 World Cup.

Sedibe said: "Fifa in its own infinite wisdom - because they think they own the world and they think that they can do whatever they want wherever they go - they say I must give them documents."

To cut the long story short, Sedibe, among others, was banned for "infringing Fifa's general rules of conduct, loyalty and duty of disclosure, co-operation and reporting" relating to the scandal.

Strangely Fifa, according to Sedibe, were asking him for information they were sitting with and yet banned him for infringing on "duty of disclosure".

So they found their scapegoats, as he put it, and we all moved on despite Fifa not explaining how those banned were actually involved in match-fixing.

Similarly, Fifa have ordered a replay between SA and Senegal - a match SA won 2-1 last year and Safa cannot appeal the decision.

So, like in Sedibe's case, we must all shut up and move on. I guess that's unfair.

The game has to be replayed on the basis that the referee Joseph Lamptey from Ghana "manipulated" the match and that's why he was banned for life. So what happened to the referee's decision being final? And, should we also be left guessing who bribed him to manipulate the match?

I'm just glad that Safa are not taking this lying down and will be challenging Fifa on its decision. If they abandon this along the way, Safa will be lending credence to outrageous claims that someone at their offices was perhaps involved in getting Lamptey to fix the match.

Fifa will of course claim that Senegal lodged a complaint and others should do the same. But, with this decision, Fifa is saying the referee's decision is no longer final and this only when it suits them.

So, it goes without saying that Safa should fight this to the bitter end.