Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) president Philip Chiyangwa yesterday warned local football referees to remain professional and that they must reject any attempt to involve themselves in the manipulation of matches
Chiyangwa, who was appointed chairperson of the referees committee last week, made the remarks in a familiarisation meeting with the local match officials at his offices yesterday.
And with the Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs often complaining of biased and poor officiating this season, Chiyangwa reminded the referees to be professional and impartial or else they will face the music.
“Referees are a very important component in football, administration and management. When the referee is on the pitch he is the boss together with the linesman. You are the custodians of the game,” Chiyangwa said.
“So, you as referees, you are the major managers of people’s peace and stability. You should be responsible when taking care of business. If you come to stadia with preconceived ideas then you will be in trouble.
“You will not officiate again let alone enter the stadium. You will only watch football from the television.
“Referees are not assemblers of violence. Because you have this onerous responsibility of managing peace and stability; you should execute your duties professionally and without bias.
“I have heard of monies that have been exchanged prior to games and I am saying never ever get yourself caught up in this sort of things. Fifa has asked us to set up a security section that will be solely responsible with the performance of the referees and they are even paying for it.”
The Zifa boss said he hopes to have a fruitful tenure in charge of the referees committee.
“I want to be able to be proud that I am your chairman and I am willing to work with people who understand where I am coming from. I don’t want to see any referees implicated in match fixing,” he said.
“If you do your job properly it actually strengthens my position with respect of defending you and the decision you would have made
So the decision to have you here is to let you know who your boss is and I am your boss not as Zifa president but as the chairperson of refs committee.
“I deploy you every week and I don’t want to have my decisions queried because of your poor officiating. Remember you are governed by Caf and if you prove you are good they will recommend you and appoint you to take charge of continental and World Cup matches.”
Chiyangwa further challenged the local referees to maintain high standards to enable them to earn recognition to officiate in Africa.
“We want the local referees to know that Zimbabwe is not your limit. Do not do things that bring embarrassment to the game. Refs should not hog the limelight at football matches. Let people talk of the game and not the referee,” Chiyangwa said.
“I have wanted to have a chat with the referee who took charge of the Highlanders/Chicken Inn match to establish what really transpired because there are a lot of conspiracy theories coming out. So I am saying work with me so that you don’t become news after the match.
“A lot has been said in the last few months regarding refs’ officiating and we are saying it must stop.”
The Zifa boss also said an inquiry team has been set up to establish what exactly transpired between the Highlanders and Chicken Inn match adding that those who were behind violence will face the music.
“I am told of the incidences that have happened somewhere in the mine, here in Harare and most recently in Bulawayo where I am also going to visit with my inquiry team to determine what really transpired during the Highlanders-Chicken Inn match,” Chiyangwa said.
“We are going to take drastic action with respect to those who perpetrated violence against the police or the public in general. I have instructed my team that side to procure photographs for us that show who was doing what.
“I can see from video clips sent to me that there were police officers with their dogs on the pitch and people started throwing missiles pushing them away from the stadium. So we want to find out who they are before we take action.
“So don’t be surprised that the action is going to be drastic because we do not tolerate any nonsense with respect to people who go to stadia only to perpetrate violence. Football whether it’s being played in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen it brings peace.
“Even when we hear of stories of violence in these countries, there are always teams that are playing football. So you can see outside the fact that the countries are at war football is the biggest manager of peace.