Appeals C’ttee upholds DC ruling on Ref Lathbridge

Referee Reginald Lathbridge, who is serving a life ban imposed on him by the Disciplinary Committee of the Ghana Football Association, has failed in his attempt to have the ban lifted.

The embattled referee triggered his right to an appeal at the Appeals Committee where he explained why he thought the punishment meted out to him by the GFA Disciplinary Committee was not commensurate to the offence he committed.

But after thorough deliberations, the Appeals Committee, upheld the decision of the Disciplinary Committee and concluded that the life ban handed him was fair.

This will come as a big blow to the referee who was hoping he would be successful with his appeal and subsequently be reinstated to continue with his work.

In March this year, the Disciplinary Committee banned Referee Lathbridge for life from taking part in all football related activities (administrative, sports and any others) at national and international levels, having been found guilty of the charges brought against him by the GFA prosecutor.

Lathbridge, at a hearing at the Disciplinary Committee, apologised to all stakeholders of the game and admitted the charge of failing to submit a complete and accurate Match Report to the GFA on Match day 7 of the 2016/2017 Ghana Premier League match played between Bechem United FC and Elmina Sharks FC at Bechem, thereby bringing the game into disrepute.

Referee Lathbridge’s action was held to have been in violation of Articles 22 and 35(7)(d) of the GFA General Regulations and other regulations in respect of the matter.

The Disciplinary Committee states that the importance of the Match Official’s Reports in football cannot be overemphasised in view of Article 85 of the GFA Disciplinary Code, which presumes that the referee’s report is accurate and considered authoritative regarding matters on incidents that take place on the field of play and the far-reaching consequences any inaccuracy may lead to.

It would be recalled that referee Lathbridge’s error resulted in Great Olympics’ court case with the GFA earlier this season, a move that delayed the start of the league for weeks.
Lathbridge is on record to have admitted his guilt but has been pleading that his punishment be reduced.

In an interview with the media when he was served notice of the ban, Lathbridge said, “I have been very honest in the issue at hand. Let us all be honest in our dealings; it could take you even a year to realise you made a mistake.

“To err is human. I made a mistake; after I realised it was creating a problem, I asked for forgiveness from God yet I have been punished. From now onward, I will walk as a free man.

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