Refs up in arms over allowances

Refs up in arms over allowances

MASERU – Econet Premier League referees and match officials are crying foul over unpaid allowances.
The referees say they went into the December Christmas break empty-handed after the league and sponsors Econet failed to pay what’s due to them.

The allowances are for Premier League matches and each referee is paid according to how many games he or she officiated.
Match officials are up in arms that they were not paid in January as well.
It is not the first time referees in Lesotho’s top-flight have voiced grievances over unpaid monies. In July last year officials again cried foul over unpaid allowances for two months of work.
It is becoming a worrying trend.
Sources close to the referees say the officials are unhappy about the situation and have been going to grounds with “heavy hearts which is not right.”

The officials say they suffered a dull Christmas break as they went into the festive season with no money for their work done in November and December.
Approached for comment by thepost yesterday, Premier League secretary Mahlake Phulane insisted that the referees’ November and December allowances have been paid to them.

He said only the January allowances are outstanding and they would be paid next week.
Phulane said the process of paying match officials follows “three steps”. First, the Referees Committee, through their office at the Lesotho Football Association, submit their claims to the office of the Premier League who then take the claims to league sponsors Econet to pay.
He said the January allowances are currently being processed.
“What happens is every month the referees’ office through their coordinator submit their claims to the Premier League, then the claims are taken to Econet to pay. The November allowances have since been paid, and the January allowances will be paid to them next week,” Phulane said.

Phulane said the Premier League is working together with Econet to see how they can fast-track payment allowances for officials.
He maintained the league pays match officials as soon it receives money from Econet.
“It’s not like we have the money, it’s not like the Premier League has the money and is keeping it,” Phulane said.
“You have to understand those three steps that we take. They will be paid and I repeat they have received their November allowances. It’s January allowances that are still coming.”

Phulane insisted the Premier League communicates with the Referees Committee’s office about what is happening and to explain whenever there is a delay, but he said it seems there is a communication breakdown between the office and its match officials.
Meanwhile, Lesotho’s highly-rated assistant referee, Souru Phatšoane, was in action yesterday in a CAF Confederation Cup tie between North African sides Zamalek and NA Hussein Dey in Egypt.

Phatšoane is Lesotho’s most qualified FIFA assistant referee and is renowned around the continent for being involved in big matches. He is expected to be involved in the upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers in March.
On Sunday, about 70 match officials are expected to undergo a gruelling fitness test conducted by LEFA at Setsoto Stadium.
Normally the fitness test is done before the second round of the season kicks off, however, the last assessment was done in December and a six-week waiting period had to pass in order for another exam to be held.

It is a must for Lesotho’s FIFA, Premier League and A-Division referees to pass the tests in order to continue overseeing matches.
Officials that fail the test will be given a second chance after six weeks but will then be responsible for financing the test themselves.

Tlalane Phahla


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