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Pay our soccer referees well

17 Feb 2023 at 14:50hrs | Views
Referees are the nucleus of the game. Our football needs their services as much as we need the air to breath. The plight of referees in Zimbabwe is something not to ignore.

I am penning this article as a former referee who wants to see a change in the way our football is being officiated across the country from the top flight football down the social boozers leagues.

The Zimbabwe Soccer Referees Association is once again embroidered into a web of challenges which need action in order to save the most beautiful game of football.

If things continue under this current executive the Zimbabwean football will continue hitting the high low mark for years to come.

Referees are struggling and drawing peanut butter using a straw whilst the so called leaders are enjoying the fruits.

Recently they were asked to affiliate using the United States dollar yet the referees are being paid in RTGS at bank rate. They sometimes don't quickly get the money and only get it after it has been hit hard by inflation.

It is not all that sweet and rosy in the referees fraternity. All is not well and most referees are likely to quit this year citing poor remunerations and working conditions.

Before the start of any season referees must buy training kits and new uniforms on their own and unfortunately don't get any kind of sponsorship from the local bodies. Where are the FIFA funds being channelled to?

With the current hyper-inflationery environment the country is facing referees match fees must be paid before they start or as soon as they finish the match.

For example some outstanding match fees were only paid during the beginning of this year January 2023 and with no value at all.

The association is still owed a lot of money by the Premier Soccer League which instructs clubs to deposit the match fees into their account and then first spin the money before it gets to the owners. Previously clubs used to deposit the match fees into referees account on the same day.

Last time on Chibuku tournament games played during the Covid19 era match fees were misused by Zifa yet they received a cushioning from Covid19 grants from FIFA.

Surely if referees are not well catered and remunerated corruption and match fixing will find a fertile breeding ground thereby bringing the game of football into disrepute.

It never rains but pours for some Zimbabwe Soccer referees who are struggling to make ends meet as they are forced to attend endless refresher courses. For example there is a course penciled for March this year where referees are supposed to attend and fund themselves.

In other countries such very important courses are funded by the association through Fifa funds.

In Zimbabwe no referees courses were held without referees being asked to pay. It is like they are living in another global world of their own different from others.

Its unfortunate that the recent report by restructuring committee never mentioned anything about the plight of referees and yet they are stakeholders in the running of football in the country.

Most of the time referees mouths are shut and their voices gagged. Referees are professionals who must be given a chance to choose their own leadership since they are an affiliate to Zifa.

This issue of referees leadership being chosen by a congress without any referee representing them is actually old fashioned and killing the spirit of match officials who end up being led by people who have never kicked or got near a ball.

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Twitter - @Leokoni

Source - Leonard Koni
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