Fufa must not ignore whistle on referees

Monday February 22 2021
soccer004 pix

Referee Emma Kiweewa lends an ear to a complaint from a Bright Stars official earlier this term. PHOTO BY EDDIE CHICCO

By Editor

There has been quite a fallout from last Friday’s StarTimes Uganda Premier League clash involving Vipers and Police at St. Mary’s Stadium, Kitende in Wakiso District.

Visitors Police blamed the sending off of goalkeeper Derrick Ochan for the turnaround that saw them squander a 2-1 lead to lose 3-2 to the reigning champions.

Tempers flared as debate on whether Ochan had punched the ball way out of the penalty box or inside ensued.

The referee George Olemu, at first hesitant, made the decision to send off Ochan and award the hosts a free-kick after consultations with his assistant Juma Osire.
For many, it wasn’t a normal refereeing mistakes. It has provoked some old conclusions about the pre-determination of results in the local league.

An angry Police Football Club (FC) chairman Asan Kasingye ran down from the VIP box to confront the officials and called
Later, he went to his official Twitter account to accuse Vipers of bribery and call for life ban to a club that has greatly contributed to the game.

In the middle of his tirade, he called on the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (Fufa) to investigate some of the incidents which he claimed are part of pattern.

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It’s easy to dismiss Kasingye as a jilted lover just going through the emotions of the game. Granted, not everything he tweeted and has said since is valid.
However, he has lit a fire that the Fufa cannot just leave to die. We have been here before. The height of influencing match results was 2003.

SC Villa and Express were implicated during an investigation that saw the former beat Akol United 22-1 in a league game. Football partially died that day.

To cover their backs, Fufa instituted a commission of inquiry. The recommendation of that report was never implemented.
Only as recent as 2018, the accusations of match fixing returned.
Fufa, again, instituted a commission of inquiry. The findings have never been published.

All this time, everyone complains about the refereeing standards. Okay, there is no time when stakeholders will not protest decisions. Sport is that emotive.
Knowing that is not an excuse for Fufa not to work overtime to improve standards. That Ochan moment presents another opportunity to be steadfast in the never-ending process to be better.

The season is now over 80 matches old. Yes, the incidents of bad officiating are few but you cannot let one rotten tomato spoilt the basket.

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