Battered referees can press charges

By Raymond Jaravaza

REPORT them!

Tired of being harassed by footballers who insult or abuse you because of a call? There’s good news for football officiators- they have Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) blessings to get players arrested.

Referee Philani Ncube (centre) discusses with Highlanders Captain Honest Moyo (second from right) and Chicken Inn Captain Moses Jackson (second from left) to abandon the Zimbabwe National Army charity match played at Barbourfields due to rains, the match was abandoned in the 55th minute….Pic by Dennis Mudzamiri…

League chairman, Musa Mandaza, says nothing stops aggrieved parties from laying criminal charges against offenders.

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“In the last two seasons we have witnessed two incidents where referees have been assaulted by players and as a league we can only punish the offenders within the league’s rules and regulations.

“But nothing stops a referee who has been assaulted from pressing criminal charges because beating up someone, for whatever reasons, is an offence under the laws of the country.

“As the Zifa Southern Region we will deal with the ZRP Bulawayo Province player but the decision to press criminal charges lies with the referee who was assaulted and we can only give him the necessary support if he decides to do so,” said Mandaza.

Last week a referee, Saidi Phiri, was assaulted by a player Nkosilathi Mlalazi of ZRP Bulawayo Province during a Zifa Southern Region Division One match.

Mlalazi – who had been red carded earlier – stormed onto the field from the terraces to strike Saidi on the back of his head after Talen Vision scored a late goal.

The assault took place at Ross Camp last Saturday.

In 2016, the Zifa Southern Region disciplinary committee slapped Victoria Falls Tigers defender Lethukuthula Mathe with a 10-year ban for assaulting referee Bekezela Makeka during a Division One league against Amagagasi.

Depending on the severity of the attack, if found guilty, assault charges can land an individual a custodial sentence. B-Metro