The Liberia Football Association (LFA) has lifted the suspension of match officials, who handled the Margibi versus Nimba second quarter-final match in the ongoing National County Sports Meet.
The LFA emergency committee took the decision following a formal appeal by the Ministry of Youth & Sports (MYS) on January 8.
The match officials, including center referee George Rogers and fourth official referee (reserved referee), Kofa Doe were suspended for a month, while assistant referees Johnson Gbartea and Cunningham Miller were suspended for two weeks.
Alex Nagbo, who served as match commissioner during the match was banned for two months after Nimba County filed a formal complaint following their defeat to Margibi on Saturday from post-match penalties.
Nimba had complained to the organizers about “the failure of the match officials to implement article 7.2 and article 7.3 of the rules governing the 2018/2019 NCSM.”
Article 7.2 states “that the quarter and semi-final matches shall be played in accordance with the cup system by direct elimination of the loser.”
Article 7.3 states “that if after the 90 minutes of a football match ends in a draw, extra time of two times fifteen (2×15) minutes shall be played. If no goal is scored during the period of extra time, penalty kicks shall be taken to determine a winner.”
The match officials should have unconditionally implemented the rules governing the tournament which they did not.
However, a release from the football house says the match officials’ suspension was lifted following an email from Deputy Sports Minister Andy Quamie. According to the release, Deputy Minister Quamie said the Ministry takes full responsibility for the game not going into the extra 30 minutes in keeping with the rules after the regulation time failed to produce a winner.
While admitting that the match officials should have been abreast with the rules, Quamie said they were misled by Bryant McGill, chairman of the technical and competition committee, who has already been suspended for a month without pay.
Quamie said the ministry will hold a workshop on the rules of the game with all stakeholders ahead of future tournaments.
“Match commissioner Alex Nagbo, FIFA referee George Rogers, who was the center referee, assistant referee number one Johnson Gbartea, also a FIFA referee, assistant referee number two Cunningham Miller and fourth referee Kofa Doe, are hereby reinstated. Their right to participate in the tournament and all football-related activities are hereby restored by the LFA,” the FA release said.