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Assistant referee who denied Hearts a goal against RTU suspended for a year

Referee 36 File photo

Sat, 15 Jul 2023 Source:

FIFA Assistant Referee Patrick Papala has been handed a one-year suspension after denying Hearts of Oak a legitimate goal during their 2022/23 Ghana Premier League gameweek 33 clash against Real Tamale United (RTU) at the Accra Sports Stadium.

The incident occurred during the dying moments of the match, which ultimately ended with a 2-1 victory in favor of RTU. Assistant Referee Patrick Papala controversially disallowed a goal scored by Hearts of Oak's rising star, Yaw Amankwah Baafi, citing an offside offense.

The disallowed goal left Hearts of Oak incensed, prompting the club to file a formal complaint with the Match Review Committee.

Following an extensive investigation into the incident, the committee concluded that Assistant Referee Patrick Papala had indeed erred in awarding the offside decision. As a result, Papala has been handed a severe one-year ban from officiating matches.

According to the committee's findings, Yaw Amankwah Baafi was not in an offside position when he scored the goal, and therefore, it should have been rightfully awarded.

See details of the suspension:


1. a disallowed goal in the 90+ minute scored by player number 7 (Amankwah Baafi).


Per the video watched, it was noticed that player number 7 (Amankwah Baafi) shot into goal at the time of kick the said player was not seen to be in an offside.


The Assistant referee 1 (Patrick Papala) when contacted on the incident after the video was sent to him, defended his decision to give an offside insisting that the defender made an instinctive reaction and made contact with the ball resulting in the deflecting which sent the ball to the attacker who scored.

The Assistant referee made a lot of images from the video to maintain his decision even though the panel also sent him different angles and images, he insisted that his decision was correct.


Per the video watched, the Panel did not see the scorer of the goal in an offside position. The Panel did not also see the instinctive re-action argument of the defender he Patrick Papala eluded to by trying to use as a defence, because the defender saw the ball, had all the time to jump up and swing his head to head or play the ball, which changed direction to an attacker who was not in an Offside position at the time of the kick.

FIFA Assistant Referee 1 Patrick Papala is hereby suspended for one-year (ie., 2023/2024 football season) effective from the date this communication.

The main referee’s phone lines were not going through in all the attempts the Panel made to get in touch with him. However, the panel asked Assistant referee 1 Patrick Papala what they discussed during their consultation. He confirmed that the Referee Foster Bastiours told him that he did not see the incident as offside but he, Patrick Papala insisted that it was an offside therefore, the referee complied and disallowed the goal

Foster Bastiours as the main referee failed to take responsibility when he saw that the goal scorer was not in an offside position and allowed his assistant to dictate to him. He is therefore warned to learn to take responsibility next time when he was sure his decision was correct.

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