Former FIFA referee Ace Ncobo has clarified the meaning of the ‘crossbones’ gesture used by referee Abongile Tom in Saturday’s Soweto Derby.

Tom was seen crossing his arms ahead of his chest in the 44th minute of the match after Bandile Shandu had clashed with in the 43rd minute of the first half of the game.

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The Pirates full-back, who was eventually replaced by Deon Hotto, needed urgent medical attention and Tom was sending that signal to the medics on the sidelines.

After the match screenshots of Tom’s gesture were shared and went viral on social media, with some fans alleging it showed the referee’s allegiance with Pirates, but Ncobo has clarified the actual meaning of the gesture.“People took a screenshot of that, saying ‘no wonder Orlando Pirates won’,” Ncobo, who now also works as the PSL General Manager, clarified on Extra Time.

“I want to educate the Extra Time viewers, that’s the international sign for serious injury, bring the stretcher quickly.

“Everywhere you go, the referee will use that sign to indicate – look at him he is even pointing at a neck injury – to say ‘that’s requiring attention, come with the stretcher, come with everything we need’.

“It’s the international sign that is used by referees used to indicate a serious injury needing instant attention. It’s got nothing to do with the Buccaneers [sign]. That’s upheld here, not against the chest.”


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