Some referees are still using outdated Fifa Laws of the Game despite the world football governing body having made 95 amendments to the laws that came into effect on June 10.
Confederation of Southern Africa Football (Cosafa) also effected the changes at the recent Cosafa Cup in Namibia.
A blame game has since erupted with the referees blaming Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Super League of Malawi (Sulom) for failing to give direction on the implementation of the changes.
Fifa referee Duncan Lengani said: “Sulom and FAM need to issue a circular so that all referees should effect new laws. In fact, Sulom punishments are based on old laws and that is not acceptable. There is need for a round table discussion for harmonisation. CAF already issued a circular that all its games are based on new laws from July 1.”
Fifa assistant referee Bernadetter Kwimbira said there was confusion since authorities are quiet on the matter.
“Some referees are indeed using old laws. There are a lot of changes in the old laws of the game book. Imagine, there are 95 changes to the laws themselves and 10 000 words have been removed from the old book. Luckily, Fifa referees and elite referees have access to the changes and we also attended a refresher course on the new laws. But the other referees also need to undergo a refresher to learn the changes,” she said.
Kwimbira, who is expected to officiate at Rio 2016 Olympic Games where the new laws will apply, said officials and players also need to take some time to study the rules and regulations.
She said: “Our Under-17 team is in Mauritius where they are participating in the Cosafa Cup and the tournament is using new rules. If the players do not know the new laws, they are in trouble.”
FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said he was not aware that some referees were not applying the new laws were yet to be implemented.
“It is news to me that they are using old Laws of the Game. What is more surprising is that our Fifa referees officiate matches in the Super League. Surely, there are a lot of changes and I even saw new laws being used at Cosafa Cup. I need to find out from the FAM referees development officer if this is the case on the ground,” he said.
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said elite referees had a refresher from July 11-15 on the new laws.
He urged the referees to take it upon themselves and help those that did not attend so that they start using the new Laws of the Game despite FAM and Sulom not issuing the circular.
“It their responsibility to implement the changes in the Laws of the Game,” said Banda.
Summary of major changes
- A referee can take disciplinary action before the match starts.
- A player to be treated on field if he injured as the result of cautioned or sent off player
- When kicking off the ball can move in any direction.
- Toss of coin to decide penalty shoot out goal.
- Substitutes can take any restart /corner/throw ins.
- Official, substitutes intereferes can result in penalty kick.
- Indirect freekick if a player enters the field of play without referee permission
- Player can re-enter when game is in play
- The team captain has no special status or privileges.
- The referee may not change a decision on realising that it is incorrect
- Hands and arms not included when judging offside.
- Direct, indirect free kicks and penalty kicks can only be awarded whilst the ball is in play.
- Advantage should not be applied in serious foul play, violent conduct
- Attempted violence is punished by a red card even if unsuccessful.
- Sending off if player hits/strikes an opponent on the head/face
- Attacking match officials opponents may result in indirect or direct free kick or penalty kick
- Off field fouls to result in free kick.