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The Referee’s Decision Is Final

4 October 2011 Kagiso Khaole

Over the weekend, an Everton FC player, Jack Rodwell, got a red card for what was deemed a reckless tackle by the ref on Luis Suarez. Replays showed that it was a harsh decision and the red card decision was overturned by the English FA today.

Referees do sometimes make mistakes; it is part-and-parcel of the game. The Premier Soccer League, however, has taken a stance to allow the repercussions of incorrect decisions to continue to disadvantage PSL clubs in spite of video evidence and expert opinion. Players continue to serve 3 match suspensions for undeserved red cards (Benni’s red card, in particular, against Maritzburg comes to mind).

Isn’t that like taking an innocent man to jail when a court would find him “not guilty”?

The establishment of a PSL match review panel, given appropriate powers, would bring some much needed credibility to the PSL and a sense of justice to the clubs, players and supporters. So, why has it taken so long for such an announcement to come out of the PSL headquarters? Only God and the league’s chief whips know…


  1. Incorrect decisions corrected and justice is served.
  2. Incidents not spotted by the referee can be duly punished.
  3. Standard of refereeing will improve, since it will be an ongoing process.


  1. Sorry, I couldn’t think of any…

Closing Thought: Shocking decisions by referees and other controversies will remain a talking point of the beautiful game. A part of me even believes that football’s beauty is in fact found in those imperfections. The goal that actually crossed the line, the sneaky elbow that the referee’s assistant missed and the red card that cost your team 3 points. Even so, I still believe that the PSL has a duty to correct incorrect decisions AFTER the match has been played because during those 90 minutes, like it or not…

The referee’s decision is always final!


  • http://www.onetwo.co.za The Touchline Expert

    The feedback we’ve received is that there is a panel but they basically have no powers. It’s more of an educational forum.