Paying of the Referees by Clubs is Wrong

In a shock move, on the 7th of April 2023 PLFA sent a communication to all its Members about the printing of cards, but the shocker really being the paying of “Referee Travelling Fee” by the clubs at the grounds.

This is a shocker in so many different levels, but we will explore only two, that is reneging the association’s own Congress resolution, and breaching existing prescripts.

In 2017 PLFA consciously took a resolution through its Ordinary Congress to stop the payment of Referees at the grounds. This resolution was implemented from 2018 after the election of the then new Executive Committee. 

One of the big drivers for the payment of Referees by the Association is in compliance with Article 51.8 of the PLFA Constitution which was specifically ordered by SARS as a condition of being admitted at a Public Benefit Organization for Tax Exemption. The Article says:

“PLFA will not be party to, or knowingly permit itself to be used as part of any
transaction, operation or scheme of which the sole or main purpose is the
reduction, postponement or avoidance of liability for any tax, duty or levy which
for such a transaction, operation or scheme, would have become payable under
any Act administered by the Commissioner of SARS.”

PLFA Constitution – Article 51.8

This is also reflected in the Schedule of Fees of the association with the rationale that says:

“Match Officials are now paid by the association. The transactions are fully transparent and above-board. This goes well for full financial accountability and disclosure to SARS and interested bodies.”

Approved Schedule of Fees – Referees Fees

In truth, Referees do duty for the Association, not clubs and therefore must be paid by the association. To enable this, the association recoups the Referee Expenses from the clubs through Registration Fees, which are also in the approved Schedule of Fees, with the following make up:

“The Team Registration Fee is at cost level, ensuring affordability to all participants, whilst also covering the cost of Referees. This fee also includes a small levy that will enable the association to operate. Constant Reviews are required to always synchronise with the volume of matches as informed by the number of teams registered.”

Approved Schedule of Fees – Team Registration Fees

See the Approved Schedule of Fees here.

The Treasury Policy ensures that all services rendered to the association are paid AFTER such services and proof therefore being accepted by the association.

Whether the cost is referred to as Referees Fees or Travelling Fees is of no consequence, the responsibility is with the association. It is still a financial transaction and must be reflected in the books of the association.

See the approved Treasury Policy here.

The Rules and the Laws of the game give the Referee powers to abandon the fixture only on account of weather or the field of play. No other powers for abandoning the fixture have been given to the Referees. Even if PLFA were to adopt a clause in its Rules to allow for this, as long as it is in contradiction with the SAFA Uniform Competition Rules and the FIFA Laws of the Game, it can still not be sustained as it is not in support of association football.

See the approved Rules here.

To try and correct this, Strides Football Club wrote to the association to point this out, and to request the association to withdraw such an instruction to the clubs. Failure of which Strides will lodge an official dispute against the Executive Committee of the association and request as part of the outcomes of the dispute:

  1. That the association withdraws the instruction as it is in breach with the Constitution, the Rules and the Treasury Policy of the association, and the FIFA Laws of the Game.
  2. That the association pays the cost of the dispute, including the dispute fees and logistical costs in hearing the dispute,
  3. That the association refunds all the monies that would have been paid by clubs to the Referees in compliance with the association’s instruction.

Strides FC knows that by doing these things it is putting itself in the line of victimisation by the Executive Committee, those in support of the Executive Committee’s decisions, and the Referees themselves. The club is aware that it might suffer the wrath of the Referees for this, but chooses to do the right thing. We are in the business of football development. It would be a fallacy to the course of development if regressive decisions are allowed to slide and sustain.

See the communications here below:

1. Letter from the Association instructing the payment of the Referees by the Clubs

2. Letter from Strides to the association to correct the above.

The association neither acknowledged receipt of the above letter nor did they respond to it.

Strides is now preparing for the lodging of a formal dispute. Any Member of the association who is in support of the dispute, please send an email of support and / or participation to Your support will in fact be support for association football and good governance therein and will thus be highly appreciated.

Updates on the disputes will be shared on this and other platforms.


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