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Banned referee spills beans

Limbani Chisambi, who is among four Mzuzu referees who were banned for alleged match-fixing last week, has revealed that there is rampant corruption among Northern Region referees.

Chisambi, alongside George Azizi Nyirenda, Stephano Gomani and Jimmy Phiri, were last week banned for life after being found guilty of allegedly pocketing K15,000 from Nchalo United to influence the result of a Carlsberg Cup game against Chitipa United.

But speaking to MBC Radio 2 on Friday, Chisambi, who was the first assistant referee to Nyirenda in the game that took place in Mzuzu recently, said most referees in the region receive bribes from teams.

“There are many referees getting money from teams. I can even mention some of them. Even match commissioners are aware of this but they cannot act because they are looking for the same people to put them in positions they hold,” Chisambi said.

“For instance, there was a semi-final recently and a certain referee got K100,000 from a supporter from one of these teams. This referee was not among the officiating personnel but he got the money. Our match commissioners are aware of this but they cannot do anything,” Chisambi said.

Chisambi’s allegations on the said semi-final could not be verified independently, and he did not specify the game.

Chisambi, who started refereeing in 2007, said his hands were clean on the match-fixing allegations and blamed it on jealous people.

“Everything has its own time and, one day, I shall expose the culprits. I have passed through many obstacles, but what I want to tell the nation is that here, in Mzuzu, there are people who are getting money [to influence results of games],” Chisambi said.

National Referees Association General Secretary, Chris Kalichero, said Chisambi’s allegations cannot hold water.

“Those are what we call circumstantial comments which are influenced by someone’s situation. If what he is saying is indeed true, it means that this was happening under his watch, and where was he all this time? While his allegations might give us a tip, I cannot take it for gospel truth,” Kalichero said.

The revelations vindicate those who accuse local referees of denting football’s image with questionable decisions.

Meanwhile, Football Association of Malawi is yet to act on Nchalo who are alleged to have offered the money to the referees.

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