Advancing Referees Operations – Not an Easy Task

This Article is written by the Chairperson of the Association.

During the PLFA Ordinary Congress 2019, in my Chairman’s Address, I spoke about the pain points of the association, and the need to really up our game to address them. One of those was the Referees Issues.

So that I do not loose the message from the mentioned address, I have pasted the part from the address that talks about Referees here-below, which is still relevant in July 2019.

Here-below is an extract from the Chairman’s Address from the PLFA Ordinary Congress 2019 (Read Full Address here): 

What a year it was regarding Referees.

As the Chairperson, it is my duty to ensure that we implement the resolutions of the Congress. I do that to the best of my ability.

During the Ordinary Congress of 2016, the association approved the method of paying Referees, that they must be paid monthly in arrears at the bank. A clear motivation was provided and debated thoroughly for this. At the end, the resolution was sober, and required that it be implemented with immediate effect. In 2016 and 2017 the Executive Committee failed to implement this. I say failed in that it did not even attempt to implement it. In my assessment, this arrangement is initially seen as inconvenient for both clubs and Referees. I say initially because it had not been tested in practice, whilst in paper, it clearly made sense. In 2018 we implemented this resolution. I must say, I met resistance from the members of the Executive Committee who needed to implement this, from the clubs who, despite clear instructions continued to pay Referees at the grounds, and from Referees who despite clear instructions continued to demand payment from the grounds. I have had many times of disappointment mainly by our own members of the Executive Committee than the Referees and the Clubs. I must say also that my idea of letting members come of age was too accommodating to an extent that damage inflicted was almost irreversible.

I must commend the Secretary who, when it was not in his area of responsibility, decided to roll up his sleeves in the interest of seeing this resolution implemented. We were able to prove countless times that the payment of Referees by the association is not a heavy task. Members just need to perform their duties and Referees will be paid what is really due to them on time. This will show as a transaction of the association because it really is, and the records will be properly reflected in the books of the association. In 2019, we will have no other option but to get this right from word go. We will implement the resolution as documented.

On a different note, there is a perspective that we are neglecting about Referees. When we look at Referees we only see people to officiate our matches, period. This is not necessarily an incorrect view. However, it is just a secondary view. The primary view is that there is a case for the mass development of Referees. This is a concept that have been touted from more than twenty years ago since I got into association football management. It fails not because it is not practical, but because we refuse to see football in its totality, even at club level. This express view is fueled by the uncontrollable desire to win. In order to ensure that we win, we eliminate what we see as fat, the unnecessary burden, and focus only on the core of the team operation that will produce the winning results.

We need to go back to basics, and ask ourselves, what is football development? What in football are we developing? And are we indeed doing that? We need to do the right things. In that we will find that it is the right thing for clubs to start fulfilling their obligations to recruit and / or convert players into Referees, register these with the association, manage their development, and manage their performance. Our Rules require that we do this. In enforcing our Rules a bit tighter in 2019, let clubs understand that it is indeed in their obligation to do so, no matter how inconvenient. The tighter enforcement of the Rules will help us be even more creative in making this happen without shedding the responsibility.

The issue of Referees is actually much more problematic than we care to admit. As PLFA, we have some of the finest Referees the region could ever produce. But these Referees are now used more by the region than by us here locally. Our matches get more and more disrupted. And we cannot put too much of the blame to the region. The region must use our Referees, and help expose them to higher structures. But if the region MUST use our Referees, then it simply means that we then MUST produce even more Referees.

As mentioned here-above, the above statement is still relevant today. We have not succeeded in all areas addressed by the above. We have however progressed somewhat as follows:

The payment of the Referees at the Grounds has reduced drastically since February 2019. In May, June and July, we have not picked any instance of a Referee being paid at the Ground. To share with you what we have been paying from the Association to the bank accounts of the Referees, See below: 

This increment in payments paints is good picture of the adoption of the resolution, and puts us nicely on the path of achieving the professional operation of football. However, it does not come without problems. I list the known problems here-below:

  1. For three of the months shown in the graph, Referees were paid late, very late. This obviously gave some of the Referees the idea that this process does not work, and lost interest in officiating matches for PLFA. The late payment of the Referees has however been addressed. During May and June, Referees were paid on time. We thus trust that the confidence of the Referees will be regained.
  2. Many of the Referees who lost confidence in the Association due to the system and process of payments, have started to separate themselves from the structure, and thus not honoring the matches that have been assigned to them. Many clubs go to the grounds only to find that the Referee is no where to be found. However, Clauses 13.7(d), (e) and (g) of the Rules are helpful in allowing the teams to appoint a Referee in the case of the Referee’s absentia.
  3. The above matter needs to be dealt with in terms of the Rules. In doing so, we will loose more Referees as some of the Referees had developed a culture of impunity. However, the association has to be bold in doing the right thing knowing that at times, it gets worse first before it gets better, understanding that it takes football loving people, however few, to make football what it should be.
  4. The biggest problem though is that Affiliates are not making good on their Registration Fee debts. This is the money from which Referees must be paid. As a result, the money in the bank account of the association has depleted, and will only manage to pay a few Referees for July 2019 because of outstanding monies from the affiliates.
  5. Due to the above, matches for August 2019 for clubs that have outstanding matches must be suspended. Provisions of Article 48.1 and Article 48.4 in support of Article 11.1.4. See the text of these Articles here-below:

Article 11.1.4

To pay their membership subscriptions

Article 48.1

Only the Congress may suspend a Member. However, the Executive Committee may suspend a Member that seriously violates its obligations as a Member with immediate effect

Article 48.4

During the period of suspension, a suspended Member shall lose its membership rights. Other Members may not entertain sporting contact with a suspended Member. The Disciplinary Committee may impose further sanctions

The truth of the matter is that the Association cannot task Referees knowing that it does not have the money to pay them. Similarly, Affiliates cannot expected to be fixtured knowing that they are themselves not honoring their obligations. Means need to be made for the leagues to finish on time.

Therefore the Executive Committee of the Association will be instructed to act diligently on this matter to avoid an eminent collision course, and to apply the statutes of the association appropriately.

I would like to know what Members and stakeholder feel about this subject. Please do register your comments here-below, or on the Facebook page of the association.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.