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Sports News of Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Source: mufnabila.wordpress.com

Lathbridge Ban full story: How the Ghanaian referee banned himself for Life

The Disciplinary Committee (DC) of the Ghana Football Association banned referee Reginald Lathbridge for life following his inability to submit accurate match report of a match week seven Ghana premier league fixture between Bechem United and Elmina Sharks played in Bechem last year.

The experienced FIFA referee is accused of bringing the image of the game into disrepute with such horrendous mistake a source described as “avoidable.”

The decision has been termed as an “overkill” by a section of the media and the football loving populace whilst others believe it serves as a “deterrent to other officials” mandated to handle matches and other competitions.

His singular act led to a protracted legal tussle in civic court leading to a delay of the 2017/18 Ghana premier league which commenced over the weekend.

Mr. Lathbridge appeared before the five member Disciplinary of the Ghana FA led by Prosper Harrison Addo for questioning over his match report. Evidence before the DC showed that Mr. Lathbridge during the game awarded yellow cards to players, number 4, 6 and 20 of Bechem United. For Elmina Sharks, 20, 25, 23, but he changed that of number 23. He added the time of cautions, type of cautions, but did not include the names of the players booked. He later filled the column with some players names, but left out others with the excuse of having only Bechem United’s team sheet.

According to sources within the GFA and DC Ref Lathbridge wrote to the FA correcting an error pertaining to Bechem United’s Joseph Amoah via email dated 30th October 2017.

Referee Lathbridge stated that in the said game, the players who received cautions were Solomon Mensah of Bechem United, Isaac Donkor, Felix Addo and Kingsley Agyei for Elmina Sharks respectively, but in the evidence before the DC, player number 20 which happened to be Joseph Amoah was booked. Ref Lathbridge’s assertion proved to be true from the video evidence.

However, the DC could not fathom what influenced his decision to correct a report he wrote in the comfort of his room after seven months. According to mufnabila sources, Eva Okyere, Vice Chairperson of the Committee asked Mr. Lathbridge when he realised his match report was incorrect, and he revealed “a phone call from Zico (Kingsley Osei Bonsu)” Chief Executive Officer of Bechem United drew his attention to the faulty report.

Mr. Lathbridge also told the Committee his mistake was not alien to football, citing Joseph Lamptey’s mistake in a 2018 World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Senegal which led to a lifetime ban on him by FIFA. FIFA accused Mr. Lamptey of manipulating the outcome of the game to suit betting syndicates.

The Committee were upset with the example cited and Eva asked whether he should also be “banned for life for making the mistake” which dragged the image of the country’s domestic football in the mud. Sources added that former referee Alex Kotey, who is a member of the Committee told him he gave a wrong example because J.O Lamptey’s error was committed on the pitch which is a heat of the moment but his was done in the “comfort of his room.”

Lathbridge apologised, but the Committee suspected there might be a third party that influenced the change in match report, something he refused to open up to the Committee when he was questioned. The team also took note of the fact that Lathbridge said he “would call a press conference” if he’s punished.

Two members of the Committee wanted 3 and 4 years ban, but the other three voted for him to be banned for life which was the eventual decision reached.