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Refereeing in Moroka Swallows vs Kaizer Chiefs match

Written By Themba Khumalo on Monday, April 22, 2013 | Monday, April 22, 2013

This weekend South African fans had a number of Absa Premier League (PSL) games lined up including Platinum Stars against Chippa United, Moroka Swallows against Kaizer Chiefs, and later in, Orlando Pirates played an important CAF Champions League match against TP Mazembe.

This week, I will be focusing on an incident (or incidents, rather) that happened in the PSL match that took place in Dobsonville between The Birds and Amakhosi.

With about 25 minutes having been played, The Birds were leading 1-0 when the referee, Buyile Gqubule, awarded Moroka Swallows a penalty for a foul by Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune on Moroka Swallows' attacker, Lerato Chabangu.

I have to admit that from the television replays, I was not as convinced as the commentators were that there was indeed contact from Khune's trailing leg. But as Paul Dirkin once said: "Although television can give you 15 different angles, the only angle they can’t show is the referee’s."  I will have to give the benefit of the doubt to referee Gqubule for seeing that incident.

From the ensuing penalty kick, Swallow's leading goalscorer, Katlego Mashego, scored. In other words, the ball entered the goal.  However, referee, Gqubule, then proceeded to order a retake for an encroachment.  According to the Laws, a player is guilty of encroachment if he/she is not located "at least 9.15m (10 yds) from the penalty mark".  Law 14 also states: "If the referee gives the signal for a penalty kick to be taken and (before the ball is in play) a team-mate of the player taking the kick infringes the Laws of the Game, the referee allows the kick to be taken.  If the ball enters the goal, the kick is retaken." 

Mashego then scored the resultant penalty kick retake.  However, this time, a player from the attacking team (Swallows in this case) as well as from the defending team were guilty of encroachment.  I will refer to Law 14 again, which says: "If the referee gives the signal for a penalty kick to be taken and, before the ball is in play, a player of both the defending team and the attacking team infringe the Laws of the Game, the kick is retaken." Simple and clear.  The referee was correct to order a retake of the penalty kick.

The third penalty kick was then saved by the Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper leaving the Swallows players and their technical team frustrated. 

A look at the third penalty kick will show us that the Kaizer Chiefs keeper moved off his line before the kick was taken.  Law 14 states: "The defending goalkeeper must remain on his goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts until the ball is kicked."  The Laws also clearly say that if the goalkeeper infringes the Laws of the Game and the ball does not enter the goal, as in this case, the kick is retaken. 

Without even making use of replays, it was clear to me that Khune had moved off his line for at least two of the three penalty kicks, with the linesman failing to flag for this offence on all occasions.  Law 6 tells us that it is the duty of the assistant referee at penalty kicks to indicate whether the goalkeeper moves off the goal line before the ball is kicked. The assistant referee failed in this regard.  A third retake (thus fourth penalty kick) should have been given by the referee had his assistant seen and indicated the infringement.   I can understand why the Swallows coach felt so aggrieved after the match.

The game continued without another big talking point. But with Moroka Swallows fighting for a Top 8 finish and teams such as Platinum Stars and Orlando Pirates still in with small chance of winning the league title, such decisions could prove vital come May.

And that's the final whistle.

By Thomas Monyepao
You can find me on twitter @Tom_18Yards

Twitter: @diskioff [www.twitter.com/diskioff]
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