Punishing coaches who complain about referees won't help

Victor Gomes
Image: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

It's about time football authorities rethink their strategy of dealing with poor refereeing, rather than trying to silence those who dare speak about it.

Over the years, the PSL's disciplinary committee has been handing out heavy fines and match suspensions, especially to coaches who have voiced their frustration with the men in the middle. It was no different this week.

Platinum Stars coach Roger de Sa felt referee Victor Gomes could have done better in their 2-1 loss to Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium on February 23.

He was charged with misconduct arising from an altercation with Gomes while questioning some of his decisions, as well as for a post-match interview conducted while he was suspended.

Both the club as well as De Sa were found guilty. The club was fined R200000, of which R100000 was suspended for 24 months.

De Sa was sanctioned with an additional three-match suspension of which two are suspended for a period of two years.

It's been the same story time and again; a coach speaks out and he gets his punishment. That sounds okay considering you want everyone to toe the line, but ask yourself for once; why are people complaining about the same thing all the time?

You could argue that in some cases it's sour grapes because it happens when they are losing, but, then again, let's not kid ourselves; the problem exists.

It would seem to me that the aim is silencing those who dare question the referees' decisions, but what about doing something about bad officiating?

Even if the coaches, or anybody else for that matter, stop talking about poor officiating, it doesn't necessarily mean that would solve the problem.

It's like treating the symptoms and not the cause by fining and suspending those who speak out.

The reality is there is a problem and someone has to deal with it.

We all know that refereeing in this country leaves a lot to be desired and the SA Football Association, the body in charge of referees, should look into the problem.

We have a situation where we have full-time footballers, coaches and administrators, but the referees are doing their job part-time with full-time jobs elsewhere. Some are policemen and others teachers.

Have those in charge of football ever even considered making them full-time so they can focus on their job and possibly take their game to another level?

Is it even up for discussion or does fining those who speak out remain a priority?

Instead of trying to silence those who speak out, how about trying to find ways to improve the referees?