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Was Rollers robbed?

MQONDISI DUBE
The Top 8 are not clear regarding the application of the away goal rule PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Township Rollers crashed out of the Mascom Top 8 semifinal at the hands of Gaborone United last Saturday, but not without controversy. The second leg tie finished 3-1, after Rollers had scored an away goal, which would have taken them through to the final.

But the tournament’s Local Organising Committee (LOC) intervened and indicated that the away goal rule does not apply beyond the 90 minutes. However, a closer look at the rules does not clearly state when the away goal ceases to count.

Clause 7.2 of the competition’s play rules and regulations reads: “In the event that the teams are still tied at full time on the second leg, the away goal rule shall apply (as envisaged at Clause 2.5 and 2.6 of these Regulations). If after the application of the away goal rule, the clubs are still tied, the game shall proceed to extra time and then penalty shootout to determine the winner.”

Clause 2.5 of the rules and regulations, stipulates that: “The semi finals shall be played on a two legged basis with the overall winner of the two (2) legs proceeding to the final of the tournament.

In the event that there is a tie (using the away goal rule) at the end of the second game, there shall be an extra time of thirty (30) minutes divided into two periods of 15 minutes each. In the event that extra time does not produce a winner, the game shall proceed to a penalty shootout in accordance with the BFA Play Rules and Regulations and FIFA Laws of the game.” Clause 2.6 reads: “For the purposes of the competition, the away goal rule shall apply in

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accordance with the FIFA Laws of the game”.

The FIFA’s Laws of the game, under ‘Procedures to determine the winner of a match or home-and-away’, states that: “Competition rules may provide that where teams play each other home and away, if the aggregate score is equal after the second match, any goals scored at the ground of the opposing team will count double.”

The Mascom Top 8’s Clause 7.2 does not state that the away goal advantage ceases. It merely mentions that if the teams are tied at the end of 90 minutes then the away goal rule apply.

It does not state if the away goal rule is still in effect in extra time or it falls away. Instead the clause refers to the game going into extra time. There is no reference of the away goal rule.

Since the competition’s rules are used in accordance with the FIFA Laws of the game, then FIFA rule on the procedure to determine a winner of a match or home and away, was supposed to kick into effect.

The clause is unambiguous, as it states that if the aggregate score is equal after the second match, any goals scored at the ground of the opposing team will count double.

Again, the referee had blown for full time, and according to rules, the referees' decision is final.

Rollers have already indicated that they are not appealing the outcome.



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