16 January 2019 – Every year the SAFA Referees Committee nominates candidates to be included in the international panel of referees. The FIFA Referees Committee draws up the final list of international referees, assistant referees, futsal referees and beach soccer referees in compliance with the articles of the FIFA Statutes.


FIFA and CAF are putting emphasis on the development of young referees. FIFA would like to have referees in the international panel who would, at least, be eligible to officiate in two World Cups. On the part of CAF, they look at officiating in major continental tournaments.


For FIFA and CAF to fulfil their dream, member associations – SAFA included – have to be the vehicles through which development of young referees has to happen.

A number of our international referees are over 40 years old, and have not been to senior continental or world tournaments, bar Daniel Bennett.

It is highly unlikely that such referees would be invited to continental or world tournaments as they have not (in FIFA’s case) been invited to attend courses in preparation for Qatar 2022.

SAFA needs to start preparations for 2026 and 2030 World Cups. The sooner young referees are included in international panels, the better. From 2018 to 2025 they would have amassed the much needed experience in the international arena. Hopefully, South Africa would be represented by more than two referees in future world and continental tournaments.

The continuation of including the over 40 year old referees would defeat the whole purpose as the young ones would not be afforded any space to grow in the international panel.

It is important to note that being in the international panel does not mean that one would be there until retirement at the age of 45 years. Regulations governing the registration of international referees… Article 1

“Each year, FIFA publishes a list of referees… who are eligible to officiate at international     matches. These lists come into effect on 1 January and are valid until 31 December of the same year.”

It is clear that referees become part of the international panel for one year only.

By Tenda Masikhwa, SAFA Head of Referees