Delivered at the Memorial Service for Ian McLeod on 1 November 2017 at Crawford College in Pretoria
Good afternoon ladies and gentleman, colleagues, family and friends of Ian McLeod.
I bring greetings and sincerest condolences from the President of the Association (who had to go to Cape Town for a meeting with the Minister of Sport & Recreation) and from the entire football family on the African continent and around the world.
Our special greetings go out to the family, friends and colleagues at Crawford Prep.
Judy, Michael and Jason: Thank you for the honour and privilege of allowing us to speak here today.
Martin Luther King, Jr once said that
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge … ”
I use this quote to describe the essence of the man named Ian McLeod.
As human beings we are conditioned, to praise and will always speak positively about people, no matter whether they were scoundrels or not. However, in the case of Ian, I doubt whether there is anyone who could point to anything that was not good about him and all the accolades are well deserved.
Ian was all at once the type of person who would relish the challenge that this very tough vocation of refereeing poses whilst smiling and being so humble as to make people comfortable with his way of doing things.
Therefore, he could be known as Mr No-Nonsense, Mr Red Card, and yet still carry the respect and admiration of all those whom he came in contact with. We posted a photo last week of Ian standing in the field, holding up a red card as high as he could in front of a player and flashing that very broad characteristic smile of his while meting this form of discipline. I don’t think that there’s any player that could protest that.
The measure of Ian McLeod was when he sacrificed his time — and health — in service of football.
He was the ultimate referee who reached the highest levels of the game, officiating at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, along with Ari Soldatos and Achmat Salie, then went on to serve on the continent on behalf of CAF in different capacities.
CAF was so impressed with Ian’s skills and temperament that they felt he was one of those leading lights that should be used to raise the standard of club operations throughout the African continent. He was appointed as a CAF Club Licensing Instructor in 2015 and travelled the continent preaching the need for higher standards of club management.
At home, Ian was seen as one of the brightest minds in refereeing, serving as a Match Commissioner, Referees Assessor, Referees Instructor and Head of the Appointments Panel for all our lower leagues.
More recently, Ian was busy helping us to sort out the Referees Department to give better structure to it and to ensure that Referees development continues to take place at the grassroots level. He was planning to visit all 9 provinces to ensure that the development structures remain robust and that talented Referees rise to the top of their chosen vocation.
In my spare time I follow developments in astronomy and know that scientists say our universe is 13,8 billion light years from end to end. Scientists have also recently suggested that there may be multiple universes out there. They also talk about us living in our own 3-dimensional universe.
So, given that Ian was a full-time, devout family man, a full-time school principal and a full-time football lover, we believe that Ian must have existed in all 3 dimensions and in multiple universes to have achieved so much in his lifetime. He was hardworking and set high standards in all 3 areas I mentioned and his full-time passion for education made him exist simultaneously in all these dimensions.
So, it is with a very heavy heart that we stand in front of you, shell-shocked at this tragic turn of events, to pay tribute to a true giant.
You will notice that I have not even given much detail about the fact that he was a school principal and that he excelled in this profession as well.
Superhuman may be a better description of Ian McLeod.
We extend our condolences to the McLeod family and thank them sincerely for sharing him with us unselfishly over these many years and hope that they will take comfort in the knowledge that he will not be easily replaced and that his legacy will remain visible in the form of the people that he mentored and the high standard he set for integrity and commitment and passion for the sport of football.
How I wish he could have been here with us and blown that whistle one more time for extra time so that he could be with us a bit longer!!!
We thank you
By Dennis Mumble