Match officials have been urged to keep themselves fit during the pause in the football programmes caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Jerome Damon, chairperson of Safa’s subcommittee on refereeing, said: “These are indeed challenging times for any athlete, and match officials are in that category. Nothing beats being in the actual game for the person in the middle’s fitness. But given that this will not happen for the foreseeable future, we have measures that are about to be rolled out.”
Damon said the committee had put together a programme that match officials needed to follow.
“Our fitness team, led by Derek Hanson, is putting together a programme for match officials so they can keep fit at home. When we resume [playing matches], there will be a range of fitness checks to ensure our match officials have not gone off the boil.
“I can only share the specifics thereof once we get the document,” he said.
Two of theses measures are:
- Chats and hubs – we will engage with match officials and match commissioners weekly on various game situations shared through various online platforms for discussion and interpretation.
- Online testing – there should be a weekly online test on match analysis and match incidents and offside.
“The common shortcomings will be debated and discussed. Common interpretation or application in terms of the world trends will be reached.
“Each match assessor has an app installed on their cellphones, so we are still thinking of having a video debate, but we will see.
“So we are trying to be creative, yet practical and, most importantly, responsible during this time,” he said.
Safa has since cancelled a fitness test that match officials were supposed to undertake.
Natasha Tsichlas, chairperson of the technical committee, urged referees to use this break to sharpen their fitness skills and their interpretation of the rules of the game.