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21.11.2008 Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe refs to boycott league after attacks

By Kofi Owusu Aduonum - Ghanaian Chronicle

Zimbabwean referees have announced that they will boycott league matches this weekend to protest against recent attacks...

"We are boycotting all matches for all leagues (premier and the two lower divisions) during the weekend of Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 November," announced Vice-Chairman of Zimbabwe Soccer Referees Association (ZSRA), Andrew Pamire.

"We are deeply concerned with the abuse that referees are subjected to, particularly in Zimbabwe.

"Referees have been subjected to almost all forms of abuse - physical, mental, emotional and verbal."

He added: "We are also perturbed by the deafening silence of Zifa on the issue. At least we expected Zifa to act.

"We have had suspensions and fines imposed on some of our members who made errors.

"But in the absence of proof of allegations of bribery, we stand by our referees and would like to send a message to all stakeholders that all forms of attack on referees are unsporting and uncalled for."

Last week, one of Zimbawe's top referees Ngoni Bouyed was hit by a missile by fans believed to support champions Dynamos. The fans were protesting against the performance of another referee in a derby against CAPS United.

Fans have accused referees of receiving bribes to fix matches and so their bias handling of matches.