Referees suspended, publicly criticised after South Africa’s World Cup qualifiers

CAF's public shaming of the match officials is highly unusual in international soccer.

Published:November 22, 2016 5:11 pm

Two referees and one linesman have been suspended for three months and publicly criticised by African soccer’s governing body while another has been warned, following their performances in recent World Cup qualifiers.

Ghanaian Joseph Lamptey was suspended after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said he wrongly awarded South Africa a penalty in their 2-1 win over Senegal on Nov. 12.

Kenya’s Davies Omweno was also barred for his performance in Tunisia’s 1-0 win over Libya and his assistant Berhe O’Michael of Eritrea was banned after CAF said he had denied Libya a valid goal by waving for offside.

CAF’s public shaming of the match officials is highly unusual in international soccer.

World governing body FIFA and its European counterpart UEFA, for example, maintain policies of never commenting publicly on the performances of referees and linesmen.

CAF, on the other hand, said that Lamptey was guilty of “poor performance” in his match and “awarded a wrong penalty for handball despite the fact that the ball never touched the hand of the player”. Lamptey previously served a six-month ban for wrongly awarding a goal during a CAF Champions League semi-final in 2010.

Omweno was also criticised for a “poor performance” which CAF said included “wrong positioning and movement, incorrect identification of fouls and failure to administer some disciplinary sanctions”.

His assistant O’Michael was barred for “offside decisions including one denying a valid goal by Libya”.

The other linesman in the match, Rwanda’s Theogene Ndagijimana, was given a warning. CAF said he “missed multiple basic offside decisions which denied teams promising attacks”.