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Superhuman ref wanted

28 August 2012 - 02:14 By Carlos Amato

An exciting position has opened up at the Premier Soccer League for an infallible referee.

The ideal candidate must have the personal charisma of Nelson Mandela, the temperament of Mahatma Gandhi, the eyesight of an eagle, the wisdom of Solomon, the diplomatic skills of Kofi Annan, the courage of Achilles and the fitness of Haile Gebrselassie.

If you are the right candidate for this job, you are capable of excelling for long periods without praise or encouragement since your work will only be noticed by the fans, coaches and media in the event that you screw up.

Most of your loudest critics will have no experience of refereeing whatsoever. Coaches and fans alike will judge the quality of a decision simply on whether or not it favours their team. If these armchair referees were given a whistle in a professional game, they would be chased off the pitch before half-time. However, you must accept their loud, half-baked opinions graciously.

The candidate must be capable of making extremely tricky judgment calls, usually within five seconds of a given incident. For example: during a tinderbox of a cup semifinal, two players tussle after a foul. You book them both for the clash, whereupon the most experienced of the two continues the confrontation by putting his arm around the opponent.

You may consider letting this go, on the assumption that the senior player is trying to make peace. But you are also annoyed because the booking - and your instruction to get on with the game - has effectively been ignored. You may choose to summon the senior player and give him a lecture, but the game has already been interrupted and it is too loud to make yourself heard, and he has been warned.

Do you send him off? If so, are you ready for a volley of missiles thrown from the crowd? If you don't, are you ready for disciplinary action by the Safa referees committee for being soft on star players? It's up to you.

The applicant should be aware that you will have no recourse to video replays. All decisions must be made on the basis of one real-time viewing. This means you will inevitably make mistakes, and, if so, the employer reserves the right to suspend you from PSL action until such time as your replacement makes similar mistakes.

The ideal applicant should also be immune to threats from club officials, as well as bribery attempts from clubs and betting syndicates.

The successful applicant must be willing to travel frequently, usually on weekends when your family are at home.

To sum up, the candidate we are looking for is essentially a superhuman and a saint, but also a genius and a top athlete.

The remuneration on offer is R4250 per game. Bear in mind that many PSL players and coaches will earn at least 10 times as much money as you. But don't let this wage gap discourage you from applying: this is an exciting opportunity, and a dream job for the right person.