PSL and NFD referees face tough tests
The country’s top referees are gathering in two groups from the start of this week for their traditional pre-season tests and rules update.
The panel of refs for both the Absa Premiership and National First Division (NFD) are being taken through their paces in Johannesburg and will have to pass the stringent fitness test if they are to be included in the panel.
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The first group started on Monday and finish on Friday‚ followed by a second group over the weekend and into next week.
They will also be given updates of rule changes by Lim Kee Chong of Mauritius‚ a member of the Confederation of African Football’s refereeing committee‚ and Fifa instructors Jerome Damon of South Africa and Felix Tangwarima from Zimbabwe.
Among the new rules are a bid for more clarity on handball‚ changes to the place where substituted players have to leave the field and the position of the goalkeeper at penalty kicks.
What constitutes a handball is supposed to now be clearer although the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt certainly did not prove this to be the case.
Intent is no longer be a factor in situations involving goals or goal-scoring opportunities.
"A goal scored directly from the hand/arm (even if accidental) and a player scoring or creating a goal-scoring opportunity after having gained possession/control of the ball from their hand/arm (even if accidental) will no longer be allowed‚” say the rules.
Under the new rules‚ players from the attacking team will have to be at least one metre away from the wall when a free kick is being taken.
Also‚ players being substituted can now leave the field of play at the nearest touchline rather than walk across to the team's bench or the tunnel‚ in a bid to reduce time-wasting tactics.
A change to the goal-kick rule will also mean the ball does not have to leave the penalty area.
In situations where the ball hits the referee a "drop ball" will be awarded and there is also a change in the laws governing goalkeeper movements at spot-kicks with the keeper only being required to have one foot on the line at a penalty.