HARARE - Poor conduct by local referees was thrust into the spotlight again after the Premier Soccer League (PSL) Disciplinary Committee castigated match officials who handled the Dynamos vs Tsholotsho match last month.
Referee Thomas Masaa failed to take action against DeMbare midfield enforcer Stephen Alimenda for allegedly assaulting Tsholotsho medic Sibusisiwe Mthunzi during a league match at Rufaro Stadium.
The incident happened in the full view of assistant referee Allen Parehwa and fourth official Munyaradzi Majoni.
The two match officials alerted Masaa of the incident but the referee did not take any action against the DeMbare midfielder.
Even match commissioner Tazvitya Chipere also waded into the saga after the match when he connived with the trio to sweep the incident under the carpet.
This did not go down well with the league newcomers Tsholotsho, who immediately launched a complaint with the PSL.
The league’s Disciplinary Committee last month met twice to deliberate on the matter before passing their judgment yesterday.
Alimenda, who apologised to Mthunzi in the Tsholotsho dressing room after the match, was banned for three matches starting this weekend and was ordered pay a $2 000 fine for his actions.
The committee comprising lawyers Vusi Vuma (chairman) and Doreen Gapare together with former referee Brighton Mudzamiri, however, lambasted the three match officials for failing to exercise due diligence regarding the matter.
“The committee was, however, perturbed by the conduct of the match officials, particularly the Referee Mr Thomas Masaa and Mr Tazvitya Chipere (Match Commissioner) who having been advised by the 4th Official and the 1st Assistant Referee respectively about the (assault) lodged to them by the complainant decided that since the referee had not sanctioned the accused’s conduct with a red card, they were to keep quiet,” read the judgment.
“This conduct is a clear violation of the referee’s powers as enshrined in the laws of the game page 71 bulletin (3) which states (The referee has power to show yellow or red cards during the half time interval and after the match has finished as well as during extra time and kicks from the penalty mark, since the match remains under his jurisdiction at these times).
“Unbeknown to these conniving match officials, a photo had been taken, showing them talking to Stephen (Alimenda). It is when they were confronted with this evidence and the fact that Stephen had confirmed they called him that they then alleged the Match Commissioner instructed them not to report the incident as questions would be asked as to why Stephen was not cautioned.
“Such abominable behaviour should not be tolerated and the Zifa Referees Committee must take action against such officials.”
This PSL condemnation of the match officials comes hard on the heels of this week’s suspension of assistant referee Bongani Gadzikwa for his conduct during last Sunday’s match between Dynamos and Highlanders at Rufaro.
Gadzikwa raised his flag for offside to disallow the goal scored by Highlanders midfielder Edmore Muzanenhamo.
The Zifa Referees Committee on Tuesday announced they had suspended Gadzikwa pending a full investigation.
Zimbabwe’s top referee Ruzive Ruzive was sent packing from the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup in May after poor officiating during a group match between Swaziland and Madagascar.