Four referees that offici¬ated in a Liberia’s 2015/2016 domestic championship match between Watanga and Nimba United on Saturday, June 18, 2016 have been sus¬pended by Liberia Football Association (LFA’s) Referee¬ing Committee.
Center Referee, Christo¬pher Nylander and his two assistant referees, Albert Swen and Cunningham Miller as well as reserve ref¬eree, Prince Ajavon, were suspended with immediate effect for alleged poor offici¬ating of the said match. The match saw the league defending champions; Nim¬ba United missed a chance of to move second on the First Division table as they were pinned 1-0 by Ma watta Wa¬tangaFC. The ‘Mountaineers’ were reduced by a man following Mustapha Lomell send-off in the 67th after he took issue with the referee on his deci¬sions on the field. The four Whistle blowers will be out of action until the outcome of the Referee Com¬mittee’s investigation. The Referee Committee is expected to review the action of the center referee and his team of officials that handled the match on Saturday, June 18, 2016. The game finished 1-0 in favor of Watanga at the An¬toinette Tubman Stadium but the LFA said it wants to investigate circumstances and events during the game. Central referee Nylander was far from play to whistle for a hand ball that occurred in the mist of two United’s defenders, Phil Kawee and Prince Wilson and mid-field¬er Darlington Philip. The referee blew for penal¬ty against United after Philips was erroneously thought to have handed the ball. Adetu Evanonye got the equalizer for United in the 57th minute from Darlington Philip’s connection, but ref¬eree Nylander again blew for an offside. The goal was amazingly disallowed on ground that the scorer was in an offside position. According to FIFA, once a goalkeeper rebound a ball and the opposing player hit the ball in the net it is defi¬nitely a goal. Mustapha Lomell send-off in the 67th minute reduced the Nimba County side to 10 men after he took issue with the referee on his decisions on the field. The controversial calls by referee Nylander saw the defending champions hope to outstrip rival FC Fassell dashed with a defeat. The loss has retained the ‘Mountaineers’ at the third position on the league table with 29 points, one point be¬hind Fassell and five points adrift of Barrack Young Con¬troller who also has a game at hand. In order to get the truth of the matter, the Referee Com¬mittee will review video from the game and make an evalu¬ation of the referees handling of the match as part of the in¬vestigation. The game result will also be reviewed and investigated as well. The ‘poor’ officiating by Liberia referees has been under the microscope by many club presidents, coach, players and club’s fans since the beginning of the second phase. Many have complained the referees are not handling the league matches the right way. Referees in every sports match are the gate keepers of the game. Their main job is to ensure that the game is being played according to the rules and regulations, and to inter¬vene when necessary. Meanwhile, LFA President Musa Hassan Bility will on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 meet with 1st and 2nd division clubs at the LFA Headquar¬ters. The two Vice Presidents of the LFA including the Chair¬persons of the Technical and Competitions Committee as well as the Technical Direc¬tor of the LFA will be attend¬ance.