Safa lavish praise on referee Victor Gomes for turning down lucrative bribe

Victor GomesGetty Images

Just after referee Victor Gomes revealed that he turned down a bribe to throw a Caf Confederation Cup match, the South African Football Association (Safa) has hailed the referee.

Safa said the referees have conducted themselves in an exemplary manner as they identified and reported the bribery attempt to the continental football governing body.

This comes after Gomes, was approached to fix the first leg play-off encounter between Nigeria’s Plateau United and Algeria’s USM Alger last weekend – Plateau went on to win the encounter 2-1.

Gomes was assisted in Lagos by Johannes Moshidi and Athenkosi Ndongeni, while Thando Ndzandzeka was assigned as the fourth official.

Although he is known for controversial decisions in the South African Premier Soccer League, the no-nonsense official reported the match fixing attempt to the Confederation of African Football (Caf), who have initiated a probe.

The PSL referee revealed that he was offered US$30 000 (R362 556) in cash, but was not tempted and turned it down.

In a statement, Safa head of referees Tenda Masihkwa expressed pride in how the South African delegation handled the matter.

“Our referees have conducted themselves impeccably well in the sense that they were able to identify and report the issue immediately to Caf for them to make further investigations on the matter,” Masikhwa was quoted as saying by on Safa's website.

“Because it was a Caf appointment, they wrote a report and sent it to them, and they (Caf) are dealing with it,” he said.

“Our officials showed the rest of the continent and the world that they won’t tolerate corruption within the game. We are proud of what they did and this is why South African referees are so much sought after and are highly regarded on the continent,” reacted Masikhwa.

“On 13-14 February this year, we held an Integrity Workshop in Sandton, Johannesburg where two FIFA representatives articulated the need to have honest and upright match officials; people of integrity within our game. What we see today are the fruits of that particular workshop,” he added.

Masikhwa said Gomes and his team’s act of bravery comes after Safa recently held a Youth Development Course for Referees in Pretoria, and also an SAB Skills Camp course for match officials.

Moreover, he added that they are proud of the steps taken by the delegation and that many officials must also follow on their footsteps.

“What Gomes and company did are the results of what SAFA has been doing all along in order to change the face of refereeing in South Africa and Africa in general – we are very proud of our officials,” continued Masikhwa.

“We hope that this will also be a lesson to other match officials who were not part of this Gomes team; that if ever anybody approaches them in future, this is the way the go – report the matter to authorities without delay,” Masikhwa concluded.