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Is Bafana game against Spain a Match Practice or International Friendly game?

Written By Themba Khumalo on Friday, November 22, 2013 | Friday, November 22, 2013

I have perused the bible of soccer called the FIFA Laws of the Game to make well informed statements accompanied by empirical evidence. It is a 148 valuable pages worth reading by any soccer fans across the globe.  The following information was extracted from the FIFA Laws of the game governing our football.

 In the official FIFA competition
 According to the FIFA Laws of the game 2013/2014, up to a maximum of three substitutes may be used in any match played in an official competition. Every soccer fan knows about this rule which is applicable to any league and competition match in South Africa under SAFA. Amateur organised leagues also applied this rule of 3 maximum substitutes in a game.

International match practice
FIFA Laws of the game 2013/2014 clearly stipulated that in the international match practise, the rules of the competition must state how many substitutes may be nominated, from three up to a maximum of twelve. However, the following condition must be adhered to:
·         The teams concerned reach agreement on a maximum number of substitute(s) from 1 to 12.
·         The referee is informed before the match about the agreed number of substitutes.

International Friendly Game (Bafana Bafana vs Spain)
 Main Criteria for an International Friendly game to be included in the list used for the calculation of the ranking.
1.     Observance of the Laws of the Game as issued by International Football Association Board (IFAB) and published by FIFA.
2.     In accordance with FIFA statutes, the main referee and both assistants must be listed on the current FIFA list of international referees.
3.     It is not compulsory that the fourth official be included in the FIFA list of international referees
4.     The referee and assistant referees shall be from neutral country.
5.     Only six substitutions per team can be made during the match.

Spain Contravene the Law 3
1.     Spain contravened the rule on Category A by renegade from agreed six substitutes allowed to be used.
2.     The referee was informed during the game about the 7th substitute which is contravened a rule which stated that the referee must be informed before the game.

Conclusion
1.     The Bafana and Spain game qualified to be downgraded to an international match practice from International Friendly game.
2.     Players will not awarded caps or ranking points to Bafana.
3.     The results of the game will be null and void and won’t be recognised by the FIFA.

According to the Circular no. 1324 issued last year on the 25th October 2013 directed to the Members of FIFA on FIFA/Coca Cola World Ranking. Matches can be retrospectively removed from the list of matches used to calculate the FIFA/Coca Cola World ranking if the Laws of the Game have not observed. 

No need to await FIFA confirmation as FIFA Laws of the Game, rule 3 was contravened deliberately by Spain on the 80th minutes to avoid humiliation and embarrassment by the defeat but maybe FIFA will feel pity for Bafana recognizing the game as International Friendly Game.

Currently, Bafana and Spain game do not fulfill the requirements of the International A game which means no caps or ranking will be awarded in the game.

The case closed!

By Owen Mundalamo
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