Referees ● Jul 11, 2012
“Our Aim Is To Continually Improve Referees’ Standards, Discipline And Dedication” – Mohamed Muzamil, Head Of Referees’ Committee
Following the recent incidents and articles that has cast the FAS referees in a negative light, we speak to Mr Mohamed Muzamil, Head of Referees’ Committee to shed more clarity on the situation and also the efforts of the referees.
Does the FAS think the referees are facing a crisis. Why? And in light of recent revelations, what is FAS’ plan for the referees’ department?
- On behalf of the Referees Committee and the FAS, we are indeed disappointed with the recent turn of events especially with regard to the allegations of referees moonlighting and failing to turn up or arriving late for matches, without valid cause.
- In the same spirit, I must commend all the other referees, who continue to train hard, attending the training and fitness sessions in order to be the best referees they can be for the benefit of Singapore football.
- My committee and I will continue to work hard and make the necessary changes to ensure that our Referees adhere to the rules and regulations as well as their code of conduct which are in place.
- In 2012, FAS referees and assistant referees will officiate an estimated 1,256 matches from the S.League to the Prime League, Women’s League, NFL, COE and school matches. This number does not include the numerous 7-a-side and 5-aside competitions that are sanctioned by FAS where our referees officiate.
- While we strive to achieve a 100% record in terms of attendance at matches they have been appointed for, we must highlight that they are not full-time professionals and have taken up refereeing as way to contribute back and be involved in the game. Having said that all referees understand once they accept their appointments there are systems and processes in place for them to inform us should they be unable to turn up for their appointed match for whatever reason.
Clarification on the integrity of the assistant referee to take over the referee who did not turn up for the fixture.
- Firstly we would like to clarify with regard to our earlier statement on the failure of the Referee to be present for the COE match between Tampines Rovers and SAFFC at the St. Wilfrid Complex. Here what we meant when we said ‘it did not affect the integrity of the game’ was based in the context that the AR who took over the refereeing role for the said match is a qualified Class 1 referee and his refereeing would not affect the integrity of the said match and competition.
- However, having said that my view is that it is not appropriate for a 14-year-old or for that matter anybody else, who is not a registered referee, to have been allowed to run lines. The match inspector should have in consultation with the referees present, postponed the match once it was confirmed that the appointed referee would not be present at the scheduled kick-off time. We have investigated this matter and will take the appropriate actions on the said referee.
Clarification on actions that will be taken on referees moonlighting
- We are also disappointed with the report that one or two of our Referees allegedly were moonlighting, especially as this matter was raised in our last dialogue session with our referees in early June and our Referees were informed yet again that the RC will take disciplinary action against those who do not comply with this rule. We will definitely take the appropriate disciplinary action against any of our referees found to be moonlighting and will summon them before the RC Disciplinary Committee.
Clarification on referee who was allegedly intoxicated
- With regards to the reports that a referee was allegedly drunk, we would like to clarify that during the disciplinary hearing, the Referees’ Disciplinary Committee ascertained that the allegation that the referee was drunk was not proven. However, the said Referee was suspended for his tardiness, ie in arriving very late for the match. It is indeed not fair play that the media continues to mention in their reports about him being allegedly being drunk or intoxicated as this was not proven in a Disciplinary hearing. What many people did not know is that the very same Referee conducted a training session for the benefit of our Referees the same morning of the particular NFL match.
Clarification on referee who was suspended for “biased refereeing decisions”
- We would also like to reiterate that the other referee in question was suspended due to poor refereeing decisions by the Referees’ Disciplinary Committee and was not guilty of being biased.
Reply to accusations of biasness and cliques in the articles.
- It is also unfortunate that there were baseless allegations about cliques in the referee committee and we would like those with the information to come forward and contact me, our General Secretary Winston Lee or our President Mr Zainudin Nordin. Your information will be kept confidential.
- As for the issue of the alleged racism and biasness on the appointment of referees, when we heard about these allegations which were sent by an anonymous source, we immediately conducted an internal investigation and found that this allegation was unsubstantiated. If there is evidence to suggest otherwise, then again we invite persons who know of such activities or have any information to come forward so that we can act on it.
- We are currently reviewing all our protocols to ensure that all these negative incidents are not repeated.
FAS has appointed Asadullah Mohd, a 33-year-old with one year’s experience as a Class 3 referee to take over the referees’ department. Why does the FAS think that he is the best person to step into the role, even though he is only handling administrative matters?
- As for the replacement for Mr. Lai Boon Teck, we would like to highlight that the Referee’s Committee will work closely with Asad who will have the support of other senior FAS officials to carry out the administrative tasks while the RC will deal with all technical matters. Asad is also an experienced sports administrator having worked in the Sports Council previously.
Has the search for a new referees’ head started, have applications been received, and when does the FAS think an appointment will be made?
- While the search is on to identify a suitable candidate with the relevant experience, we are confident that these setbacks will be overcome with the support of our referees and the various Referee Assessors, Instructors and members of the Refereeing community.
Comment by FIFA Referees Development Programme and Referees held in high regard by AFC and Asian Countries
- Again I would like to reiterate that we should not forget and discount the contributions and achievements of the majority of our referees. Till today our referees are well regarded in Asia as evident by regular AFC appointments and also top Asian countries continually inviting our referee to officiate their domestic matches or international friendlies, on occasions we have to turn down these international invitations as our priority is to ensure that our very own S.League also has our best Referees on duty. Our Referees know this and accept this as they play an important role in our football eco-system.
- As mentioned previously, FIFA Referees Department Senior Manager, Fernando Garcia, after his evaluation of the FAS Referees Development Programme said that “in general, the development programmes are well organised. What is necessary to adjust is to have the level of refereeing in the same level as what the federation wants its refereeing to be, professionally.”
- “When you are a referee, your dream is to be in the World Cup one day. And this is what should motivate referees, and maybe we have to increase the financial aspect. But having said that, money is not all, when you enter the referees’ organisation, you have to look at other objectives as well.”
- “I have identified many positive things. They have a very good organised referee’s committee. They have as well, a referee’s department. Not many countries have a referee’s department with four full-time staff.”
Concluding statement on what needs to be done moving forward
- Despite the commendations, we will not be resting on our laurels as there are lots of challenges ahead including the recruitment of new referees to cater to our busy Football calendar. The Referees Committee, including myself, together with our referees department will work hard to ensure that incidents such as I have mentioned earlier shall not be repeated but to do this we will require the support of all of our referees. Our aim is to continually improve their standards, discipline and dedication and this can only be achieved if all parties continue to work together and if there are any issues or dissatisfaction theses should be raised to the Referees Department and or Referees Committee, or even the FAS Management. Let me assure you that the RC will act without fear or favour in the best interest of Singapore football.