A couple of referees have so far been axed from the list of the Premier League or suspended, while others have been warned following error-strewn performances. Referees are expected to be neutral arbiters, but those involved in the game argue that this is not always the case because some of the officials have, at times, been found soliciting bribe while discharging their duties.
To some, the situation is not entirely incompetence, but deliberate act to ensure that some preferred teams win matches, as recently suggested by Kagera Sugar head coach Abdallah Kibadeni. Probably the fact that local referees are paid less could be one of the reasons why the match officials perform below par.
It is well known that the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) are responsible for payment of officials handling the league matches. However, murmurs of disapproval are arising from various quarters that instead, it is the clubs that are responsible for payment of the officials handling their matches, the situation that contribute to deterioration of officiating transparency in the league.
This week, the Football Referees Association of Tanzania (FRAT) clarified on salaries paid to a Premier League referee, saying each is paid 170,000/- per match. The association revealed that 100,000/- is donated by the league sponsor, Vodacom Tanzania, while the remaining 70,000/- is paid by TFF through gate proceeds.
They are also given fare to and from match centres. FRAT suggested that the amount is not enough especially for referees who do not have other jobs and are rely on refereeing to make living. Its simple logic, teams can easily dish out money above regular fees to have the referee sway the match in their favour.
However, it is also true that poverty can make financial inducement easy, but still, the match officials have the duty to uphold ethical and moral principles. They need to adhere to their professional code of conduct regardless of how much they are paid. There is also need for TFF to find more sponsors to ensure that referees are reasonably paid.