Lulu clears OFC on poor refereeing in Van vs NZ

The Chairman of Oceania Football Confederation Referee Committee and President of Vanuatu Football Federation has assured the media and soccer fans in Vanuatu that measures have been and would be taken to ensure high standard of refereeing is restored and maintained in OFC tournaments.

Addressing a press conference on Monday 2 February 2004 at the VFF Haus in Port Vila, not as President of VFF, but as Chairman of OFC Referee Committee, Mr. Lulu told sports reporters and fans that a panel of independent Oceania FIFA referees had made a thorough review on the Victor Maleb goal against New Zealand that was disallowed by the referee and his assistant for an offside, and had resolved that the referee decision was wrong.

"The referees worked with OFC tournament manager Mr. Tai Nicholas, in viewing the goal from different angles, and have found out that the referee and his assistant were not positioned at the proper angle or where they were supposed to be in that instant when Victor scored.

"The committee also reviewed the appointments of the referees with reference to their rankings in Oceania. Unfortunately the appointments were not in line with the normal practice of FIFA tournaments where referees of low rankings are not allowed to run games in such important tournaments", Mr. Lulu said.

Mr. Lulu said the Australian referee Simon Micalef is ranked 19 in Oceania, and his Papua New Guinea assistant referee Hillary Ani is ranked in the 20s. Mr. Lulu pointed out that there were other highly ranked referees available in the region, but that the committee would not understand when they were not appointed. He said "in this respect the integrety of the referee inspector is put into question".

The referee inspector in Group B was Ken Wallace of New Zealand.
Mr. Lulu said as a result of the findings, the two officials involed in the case will cease from officiating any OFC matches until such time when they are considered fit for that standard.


Comment Guidelines: The SportsTG Network is made up of players, families and passionate sports followers like you who have a strong opinion about sport. That's great - we want you to have your say and share your thoughts with the world. However, we have a few rules that you must follow to keep it fun for all. Please don't be rude, abusive, swear or vilify others. Apart from some pretty serious sport sanctions, we also can ban you and report you if things get out of hand. So play fair and have fun, and thanks for your contribution.