Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Andrew Kamanga has given the association position on whether they will file a complaint to FIFA over the 1-0 loss to Nigeria with Botswana referee Joshua Bondo controversially ruling an Augustine Mulenga goal offside.
Addressing the press at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Kamanga said that FAZ found itself in a difficult position as FIFA deemed a referee’s decision final unless there is evidence of external influence on the whistle man.
The FAZ president said that although Zambia was denied a ‘clear goal’ by the referee there had been no indication of external influence for the decision.
“According to article 15 of the FIFA regulation, which clearly states 15 (6) that the referees decision is final. That is where football comes from. Where there is reason to believe that the referee has probably made a mistake, I think there are enough safeguards within the system that address those kinds of concerns. So that is where we are starting from,” he said.
“I think all games have got referee assessors, I think they will equally file in their reports, the match commissioner will file in the report. But the rules are very clear, you cannot overturn a referee’s decision, the only decision that is overturned and I think this should be very clear and this is the basis on which we find ourselves constrained.”
He added: “Those of us who were in the stadium saw it within a split second that it was not an offside but the referee made a decision and like I said the referee’s decision is final. But the only consolation is that FIFA will overturn the result of a game if they have reason to believe that there was external influence.”
Kamanga said that Zambia had been down the appeal road as was the case in 2016 against Guniea Bissau who were suspected of having used a foreign player.
“We have spoken to the match commissioner, we did speak to the referee assessor I equally made frantic efforts to speak to officials in FIFA…I had the opportunity to consult widely but the conclusion was that we were denied a clear goal, but the rules being what they are, you cannot overturn the decision of the referee. The only basis is when there is suspicion that there was evidence of external interference,” he said.
“The referee may be carpeted for making a wrong decision but the decision still stands, unfortunately that is the way football is and that is where we find ourselves.”
Kamanga said that introduction of Video Assistance Referees as experimented during the FIFA u-20 World Cup was meant to cure erroneous decisions by referees.
“This is why FIFA has tried now to come up with Video Assistance Referees where they are trying to make sure that the decision can be overturned whilst the game is going on. I think we did see that at the World Cup at u-20,” he said.
He said that VAR offers immediate remedy for football injustices on the pitch.
(Source: FAZ Media)