Following reports that Black Leopards chairman David Thidiela allegedly launched a scathing attack at referee Victor Hlungwani, Lidoda Duvha have acknowledged that they are aware of the issue.
However, Leopards spokesperson Berry Ramurenyiwa told Goal on Tuesday that the club has since issued an apology to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) referee, but could not comment further on the matter.
"We are aware of the recording as a club....we can't say much at the moment, it is safe to say we did apologise to the referee yesterday (Monday) for the statement our chairman uttered,” Ramurenyiwa told Goal.
“We are dealing with this issue and we are aware the PSL has called for our response. We will give a statement later as we are busy with this matter,” he added.
“Apparently, he (Hlungwani) did accept the apology over the phone with the chairman and that's why we cannot say much for the moment," concluded Ramurenyiwa.
The Limpopo-based club's chairman was angry with the referee's officiating after their 1-0 loss to Bloemfontein Celtic at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Sunday.
Following their defeat, a recording surfaced on Monday with Thidiela allegedly threatening the referee after he felt his side should have receive penalties against Phunya Sele Sele.
Speaking to PhalaPhala FM, the chairman revealed his reasons behind his rant, saying the incident occurred at a parking lot as he was mingling with journalists.
“What happened on Sunday shouldn’t have happened, Victor Hlungwani was passing with other match officials while I was in the parking lot with journalists and I don’t think Hlungwani saw me,” Thidiela told the SABC radio station.
“But it was when he came to greet one of them (journalist) and the journalist asked if he (Hlungwani) was happy with his own performance on the day,” he added.
“Hlungwani was laughing when he answered back saying ‘hey it’s difficult there you saw even the Black Leopards players were missing lots of chances’ and he was laughing so that’s what made me angry a little bit,” Thidiela continued.
“I said to Hlungwani you are a Shangaan and I am a Venda, we are from here, people are many here in the stadium even people from Giyani are here, this is our team,” he explained.
“I am not saying you need to do us any favours no, I am saying please officiate fairly,” concluded the chairman.
Moreover, the PSL has also issued a statement also acknowledging their awareness of the chairman's alleged utterances and has called on the club to give their side of the story.
“The National Soccer League has become aware of the alleged utterances which appear to have been made by Mr. David Thidiela, the chairman of Black Leopards Football Club, at Thohoyandou Stadium on 16 September 2018,” the PSL said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
“The League distances itself from any comment or utterance such as that which has been reported,” it added.
“Black Leopards is a member of the League, and both the club and Mr. Thidiela are bound by the NSL Handbook. If the reported utterances are true, this would contravene the League Code of Ethics,” continued the PSL.
“Mr. Thidiela has been afforded an opportunity to respond to this matter and provide such information as may be relevant,” read the statement.
“The matter will serve before the Executive Committee and the highest decision making body of the League, the Board of Governors, at a meeting that has been called for this Thursday, the 20th September 2018,” the statement concluded.
In addition, the incident comes after a number of PSL coaches such as Cape Town City's Benni McCarthy and Golden Arrows' Clinton Larsen have also complained about the standard of refereeing in the top tier.