Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Safa yet to offer financial help to referees

The South African Football Association Head of Referees Ari Soldatos has admitted the current postponement of all matches, because of the coronavirus pandemic, will have a financial impact on referees, though at the moment Safa do not have a plan to compensate match officials for any loss of earnings.

“Although our officials are not full-time professional referees, the payments they receive, over the course of a given month may be fairly substantial.” Soldatos told Phakaaathi Plus.

“The current disaster would naturally have an adverse effect on their financial well-being, and although numerous of them receive a monthly stipend from the NSL (the controlling body of the Premier Soccer League), the absence of any match fees would inevitably impact on them and their families.

“Safa acting CEO Gay Mokoena said there could well be a compensation plan put in place for referees, if the situation of a life without football continues for a long time.

“There is not a specific plan at the moment, because this came at very short notice,” said Mokoena yesterday.

“We are hopeful that this will pass sooner, rather than later. Obviously we will have to relook …if it takes much longer.”

A potential row between Safa and the PSL was defused last week, when PSL chairman Irvin Khoza announced that all their football was suspended until further notice. The previous day, Safa had a press conference where their head of medical Thulani Ngwenya stressed the impossibility of playing right now, even behind closed doors.

Safa also control the referees, which would make it tricky for the PSL to play matches, even if they wanted to go against the mother body’s orders.

“Insofar as the appointment of officials are concerned we, at this unfortunate time, are guided by Fifa, the WHO (World Health Organisation) and the laws and regulations of our country,” added Soldatos.

“Football is critically important and the need to complete the season ranks first and foremost in our minds – but not at the cost of the well-being and safety of the participants or the soccer loving public.

“With the imposition of the lockdown, matters have obviously intensified, however once this is lifted and if the NSL were to endorse a resumption of football we would do our utmost to co-operate and appoint the officials, once we have taken appropriate guidance and direction from the experts and those in the know, so to speak.

“I must emphasize, safety and well-being is our top priority as endorsed by the NSL.”

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