6 African refs at World Cup 2018: Is there fair play in their countries?

The 2018 World Cup has a total of 16 match officials from Africa—six of them are referees and the remaining 10 assistants. Together, they are responsible for imposing fair play over the competing teams without fear or favour. With the authority to punish misbehaving players and compensate those wrongly fouled, match officials though not stars of the game are dispensers of justice and critical to its integrity and reputation.

Given the critical role played by referees, how are their respective countries perceived in relation to fair play and human rights? Below, I look at four fair play measures and award the six African countries either a yellow card or a cup depending on their performance.

Country & Ref Corruption Perception Index* Human Rights Watch Report 2017**  Press Freedom*** Rule of Law Index**** Just Aware Ref Card
Algeria – Abid Charef Mehdi 112 out of 180 countries with a score of 33 Despite constitutional amendments passed in 2016, Algerian authorities continued to resort in 2017 to criminal prosecutions for peaceful speech, using articles in the penal code. 136 out of 180 countries
with a score of 43.13
Scores not available in latest index Yellow
Egypt – Grisha Ghead 117 out of 180 countries with a score of 32 Between October 2014 and September 2017, authorities sent at least 15,500 civilians to military courts including over 150 children. 161 out of 180 countries
with a score of 56.72
110 out of 113 countries with a score of 0.36  Yellow
Ethiopia – Tessema Weyesa Bamlak 105 out of 180 countries with a score of 35 Authorities in late 2016 and 2017 announced anti- corruption reforms, cabinet reshuffles, a dialogue with what was left of opposition political parties, youth job creation, and commitments to entrench “good governance” 150 out of 180 countries with a score of 50.17 107 out of 113 countries with a score of 0.38  Yellow
Gambia – Gassama Bakary Papa 130 out of 180 countries with a score of 30 The human rights climate in Gambia improved dramatically as the new president, Adama Barrow, and his government took steps to reverse former President Yahya Jammeh’s legacy of authoritarian and abusive rule. 122 out of 180 countries
with a score of 38.36
Scores not available in latest index  Yellow
Senegal –Diedhiou Malang 66 out of 180 countries with a score of 45 Senegal has been commended for its efforts in complying with international human rights standards 50 out of 180 countries
with a score 25.61
49 out of 113 countries with a score of 0.55 Cup
Zambia – Sikazwe Janny 96 out of 180 countries with a score of 37 Zambia has some way to go particularly in relation to protecting it’s people’s customary land rights 113 out of 180 countries
with a score of 35.36
83 out of 113 countries with a score of 0.47  Yellow

*Source: Transparency International – Corruption Perceptions Index 2017. The index ranks 180 countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople and uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

**Source: Human Rights Watch World Report 2018 – https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2018

***Source: Reporters without borders, 2018 World Press Freedom Index -countries have been given scores ranging from 0 to 100, with 0 being the best possible score and 100 the worst.

****Source: World Justice Project: The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index® measures how the rule of law is experienced and perceived by the general public across the globe. Scores range between 0 to 1, with 1 indicating greatest openness.


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