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DStv Premiership Football Mamelodi Sundowns Moroka Swallows

SAFA Clarifies Referee Consultation During Swallows vs. Sundowns Match

  • April 17, 2024
  • 2 min read
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SAFA Clarifies Referee Consultation During Swallows vs. Sundowns Match

South African Football Association (SAFA) head of referees, Abdul Ebrahim, clarified that match official Jelly Chavani did not consult with anyone outside the vicinity of the pitch during the controversial offside call at Dobsonville Stadium on Monday night.

The incident occurred after Moroka Swallows scored their second goal, tying the game 2-2 against Mamelodi Sundowns. Gabadinho Mhango appeared to be offside when he received the pass from Sundowns defender Divine Lunga, and Chavani’s first assistant raised the flag for offside. However, Chavani overruled the call and awarded the goal after supposedly having had a conversation with someone else while on the pitch.

Footage captured Chavani engaged in a passionate exchange with no one visibly around him, leading to speculation that he was consulting with someone in the VAR room, possibly a match commissioner.

“The only people in the stadium who can communicate with the referee are the on-field officials: the referee, the two assistant referees, and the fourth official,” Ebrahim explained to Sportswire when questioned about whom Chavani was consulting with through his microphone. “It’s a closed system. Referees on the pitch don’t talk to anyone else; they only communicate with each other.”

When pressed on whether match commissioners wear earpieces to monitor communication, Ebrahim clarified, “No, they don’t typically wear them, although they have the option to do so.”

Rulani Mokwena, coach of Mamelodi Sundowns, heavily criticized the decision. He expressed frustration that this was, to his knowledge, the third time his team had been impacted by decisions resembling those made by a VAR system, which the PSL does not currently utilize.

Sundowns were initially leading 2-0 with goals from Teboho Mokoena and Marcello Allende. However, the controversial offside call and subsequent equalizer forced them to settle for a draw, potentially impacting their pursuit of a record-extending seventh consecutive DStv Premiership title.

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