Bafana's record win over Spain might be wiped off!

A row erupted between Bafana coach Gordon Igesund and the Spanish bench towards the end of the match at FNB Stadium after Spain goalkeeper Victor Valdes went down injured and needed to be replaced.

Spain had already used up their six substitutes, and Spanish right back Alavaro Arbeloa had already pulled on Valdes’s jersey, with Spain set to play out the game with 10 men.

But, after a heated discussion between Igesund and Spanish officials, Lesotho referee Osiase Koto contravened Fifa rules and allowed Pepe Reina to replace Valdes.

A Fifa media spokesman told The Star on Wednesday that they were “still gathering the official report of the game in order to analyse possible next steps”.

Yet, notably, the Fifa spokesman also clearly laid out their rules on substitutions and national “A” team matches, which appear to have no room for manoeuvre: “From a general point of view… a game between national teams in which one or both of them make more than six substitutions can’t be considered as an A match and, hence, can’t count for Fifa ranking purposes.”

On Wednesday, SA Football Association president Danny Jordaan questioned how Fifa could make a ruling that effectively punished Bafana on the basis of a referee’s decision

“It is an official international. Since when do you re-classify a game if a referee makes a mistake?”

It would certainly be harsh on Bafana, potentially only the sixth side to beat La Roja in their last 106 official matches.

Fifa’s rules: From Law 3

* In national “A” team matches, up to a maximum of six substitutes may be used.

* In all other matches, a greater number of substitutes may be used provided that: the teams concerned reach agreement on a maximum number. The referee is informed before the match. If the referee is not informed, or if no agreement is reached… no more than six substitutes are allowed.

In the Bafana-Spain match, there was no prior agreement, and the referee was not informed before the match.


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