8 Jun 2010

Referee who booked Rooney warns players

South African referee Jeff Selogilwe tells Keme Nzerem how he booked Wayne Rooney for his bad language, and told him not to “talk to me in that way” during England’s match with the Platinum Stars.

Jeff Selogilwe’s favourite football player is Wayne Rooney.

Even a day after England’s target man unleashed a foul tirade at the South African referee his aggression is tempered, he believes that Rooney’s ability to score goals makes him the perfect striker. We met the referee on a dusty pitch a few miles from the Moruleng stadium.

Selogilwe knows a thing or two about centre forwards – he used to be centre half himself. His catchphrase was “none shall pass”.

When Rooney swore repeatedly at Selogilwe during the England game against the Platinum Stars, his favourite saying was true once again. Rooney was told in plain terms: do that again and you’re off.

“There was an incident there which was against England. I blew the whistle then, then Wayne Rooney came running to me and he said ‘No, Mr Ref, **** you can’t you open your eyes, that is not the incident that you are ref-fing,” Selogilwe told Channel 4 News.

“I then talked to him and said ‘Rooney, you don’t talk to me in that way.'”

“Rooney then said ‘**** you off’ and then I took out my yellow card, and cautioned him, because I know the minute you caution a player with the yellow card, he starts to calm, and play whatever he is supposed to do.”

Selogilwe explained that brandishing the yellow card works because “it calms him down, ’cause he knows very well, [with a] second yellow card, really, ‘I’m going to step out this field of play.'”

Channel 4 News has been told by the South African Football Association that they think Jeff Selogilwe is not qualified to referee international matches and they do not know how came to be in charge of this warm-up match.

Fifa are also unsure how he came to be the referee, the English FA have told Channel 4 News that it was organised by the host city and was only ever considered to be a training match.

However, Jeff is still looking forward to the World Cup but just as a fan. His advice to all the players featuring in Africa’s World Cup: the refs won’t be pushovers.

“We don’t want any trouble”, he said. “We’re here to play soccer.”