Disgraced Ghanaian referee, Joseph Odartey Lamptey, has finally talked about the high profile error that led to his lifetime ban from football.
Lamptey made the error during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Senegal at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane in 2016. He gave the hosts a penalty after the ball clearly touched the thigh of defender Kalidou Koulibaly.
Football authorities in Senegal thereafter lodged a complaint with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and Lamptey was subsequently banned for three months. That ban was upgraded to lifetime after world football’s governing body got wind of the matter and investigations showed that Lamptey “manipulated” the match.
While speaking during an interview that was conducted by the Senegal News Agency or L’Agence de presse sénégalaise and published by Afrik Foot, Lamptey said the error was not intentional.
In his words, he said: “I deeply love Senegal. I can tell you that I felt deep pain after having done such an injustice against that country. I really love your country. My mistake was never intentional. That happens to you in your line of work as a journalist.”
Right or wrong? It is truly a human error but never did I want to do something against Senegal or its interests. When I came back from the match in South Africa, my wife kept asking me what I had done to the Senegalese people. I told her so many times that it was a huge error I made against a country I adore.”
In addition to Lamptey’s lifetime ban, FIFA have also ordered for the said match to be replayed in November 2017. South African football authorities initially frowned at the verdict but they have accepted it in good fate and the football body has already refunded the USD 380,000 South African Football Association (SAFA) used for the first match played last year.