22 October 2020 – Mr Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice Group CEO, Members of the Board and staff of MultiChoice, Advocate Tebogo Motlanthe, CEO of SAFA, invited guests and members of the media, I greet you.

This partnership being launched today comes at a time of greater worldwide focus on the match officials and in particular on the referees. It comes at a time when technology is permeating every aspect of world football, as well as, enhancing fan experience.

We are here to celebrate this day as a major step-change for match officials in our country.

This partnership between MultiChoice /Showmax and SAFA will make a significant contribution to the most important aspect of the game in our country.

The preparation and training of match officials is and will remain a major focus of this partnership.

We know that one wrong decision of the Referee will shift the focus of the discussion from the match to a discussion of the referee’s performance. One wrong decision can be career-ending for the referee.

Two referees were sent home for making mistakes in the 2010 FIFA World Cup final matches. In the match of Germany vs England; Uruguayan referee Jorge Lorrionda was sent home for disallowing the Frank Lampard goal.

And in the Argentina vs Mexicco match, Italian referee Roberto Rossetti was sent home for allowing an offside goal by Carlos Tevez to stand.

It is therefore important that programs and resources are placed to produce match officials to serve our game at domestic, CAF and FIFA level with excellence.

We have already informed FIFA of this partnership that will focus on delivering high quality internationally recognized match officials.

The development programs will include exams, scientific support, evaluation, and international fitness structure for referees, training referees’ instructors to provide courses to upgrade levels of competency and to keep in touch with the latest developments in referees matters.

Project equity must deliver high-quality women match officials by using the latest innovations and technique available. This will ensure that the match officials enforce the laws consistently and efficiently.

Project hector and project inclusivity will ensure a talent pipeline for referees with a clear pathway for young referees to graduate from local, regional and provincial duty to a career in officiating in the PSL, national women league, ABC Motsepe League, FIFA and CAF competitions. At least 30% of these match officials must be women.

FIFA Vision 2020 to 2023 refers to improving the game through technology as well as the implementation of VAR and it quotes, “FIFA must ensure that the technology is accessible for all Members Association regardless of their size of financial resources.”

The integration of technology into the game for further growth and development will ensure that South African football remains a major player on the continent and the world, As FIFA raises the bar for match officials, we too must adjust to new demands and standards.

We, therefore, thank MultiChoice for this partnership that will stand in service of the most important component of the game in our country.

We will carry the Showmax brand with pride.

Our newly appointed Director of Referees, Abdul Basit Ibrahim and CEO Motlanthe, as well as the referees’ structure under Natasha Tsichlas will now have to deliver on the programs and on this partnership.

I thank you.