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Sports News of Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Source: Goal.com

Referee apologises following lifetime ban by GFA

The embattled referee has spoken about his match report error and insists it was not intentional

Beleaguered Fifa referee Reginald Lathbridge has apologized to Bechem United and Elmina Sharks, as well as football lovers, following his error which delayed the start of the 2017-18 Ghana Premier League season.

The 41-year-old was found guilty by Ghana FA's disciplinary committee on Tuesday after he mistakenly transferred a caution meant for Sharks striker Felix Addo to Bechem midfielder Joseph Amoah in his match report, leading to a legal battle since Great Olympics almost capitalized on it to win a protest.

Although Ghana FA didn't budge to Olympics' protest, the latter placed two separate injunctions on the start of the new season. A ruling in their favour would've saved them from relegation.

"I apologize to the clubs that almost suffered relegation because of my errors. I have been very honest in this brouhaha and I'm happy with that," Lathbridge told Angel FM.

"Let us always be honest in our dealings in this world. To err is human, I made a mistake and after I realized that it was creating problems in the football cycles, I corrected it and have asked for forgiveness from God.

"Although I've been banned for life, I'm unperturbed because from now onwards, I will walk as a free man for telling the truth in spite of the repercussions. When was the last time I was banned or suspended for an error in the league, so this clearly tells the world that the mistake wasn't intentional," he said?

He added: "If it is possible for a doctor to operate a patient and leave a scissor or another material in his stomach and later realize what he has done, there is a possibility that I can also do the same even if it took me a year or two to realize."

According to Goal's sources, the referee initially planned to appeal the ruling, but he has been advised by his family to let it slide, since he had only four years left to proceed on retirement.