Afcon refs will be ‘quarantined’
Referees will operate under strict conditions during next year’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament, local organisers have said.
In view of recent match-fixing scandals involving referees, Local Organising Committee CEO Mvuso Mbebe said referees would be “quarantined” or secluded in their hotels.
“Referees are a very touchy subject because of all the things that are happening around referees,” he told Parliament’s sports portfolio committee.
Security arrangements would be similar to those used during the 2010 Fifa tournament.
“We are using the same concept we did during the World Cup, where the referees will be quarantined, if that’s the right word … in a particular hotel that no one has access to,” he said.
The referees would be escorted by members of the security forces to prevent them from having contact with members of the public and the media when transported to stadiums.
“When they (referees) leave, they leave match day minus one, to go to the city … They cannot have contact with members of the public because you don’t know what can be exchanged in that plane.”
Mbebe said referees would only get their freedom at the end of the tournament.
“I think it’s an integrity issue and a credibility issue.”
He said the Confederation of African Football had given organisers the “thumbs up” regarding the arrangements made for referees.
The tournament kicks off on January 19 when Bafana Bafana takes on Cape Verde.
Earlier this year, a Fifa delegation visited South Africa to probe four friendly matches played by Bafana Bafana prior to the 2010 World Cup.
The probe is based on the refereeing and outcome of the games.