Football Association of Malawi‘s (Fam) Disciplinary Committee has overruled the life bans imposed on four Mzuzu-based referees by the National Referees Association (NRA), following their involvement in a match-fixing incident.
The incident happened during the Carlsberg Cup round-of-32 match involving Chitipa United and Nchalo United on July 13, 2017, at Mzuzu Stadium where some Nchalo officials and the referees tried to fix the match with a bribe amounting to MK15, 000.
The match ended 3-2 in favour of Chitipa through post-match penalties, after a 1-1 stalemate in regulation time.
This prompted Nchalo officials to ask the referees to return the money.
NRA then banned the referees from any football activity for the rest of their lives, for “bringing the game into total disrepute”.
However, Fam has found that the match officials –namely George Aziz Nyirenda, Limbani Chisambi, Stephano Gomani and Lameck Phiri, never handled the money.
It was discovered that the money was handed over to Jimmy Phiri, who was not part of the officiating panel on the day.
It also found that the match was not fixed, considering its outcome and that Nyirenda, who was in charge of the game, was not aware of the bribe.
“Jimmy Nangantani Phiri admitted to have received the MK15, 000 meant to be used for bribing match officials. [But] he never intended to hand over the money due to his behavior on the day of the match. He was found guilty of attempting to fix the match.
“Limbani Chisambi was fully aware of the bribery but refused to be involved. He had knowledge of the intended bribe before the match kicked off but never reported to anyone of the attempted match fixing,” reads part of the statement, signed by Fam General Secretary (GS), Alfred Gunda.
The statement adds that Gomani was also found guilty for failing to report the attempted match fixing as he was fully aware of the intended bribe.
It has also been established that Nchalo officials -General Secretary Enock Whayo, Head Coach Mabvuto Lungu and Technical Director Patson Nyengo- were involved in the attempted match fixing and found guilty.
Fam has since banned Jimmy Phiri for 36 months effective 13th July, 2017 and barred him from entering any stadium in Malawi for 10 months, effective 8th February, 2018.
It has also banned Gomani for 18 months, Nyirenda for two months, and Chisambi for four months. All sentences are effective 13th July, 2017.
The three Nchalo officials have been banned for 36 months effective 13th July, 2017 and have further been barred from entering any stadium in Malawi for 10 months, effective 8th February, 2018.
“Nchalo United FC has been fined K500,000 and will have 3 points deducted from its point tally in the 2018 TNM Super League,” the statement adds.
NRA GS, Chris Kalichero, said the association has accepted Fam’s ruling wholeheartedly.
“Fam, our mother body, has made a decision and it is final. We have accepted it,” Kalichero said.
Nchalo Chairman, Peter Chiipanthenga, did not pick our calls despite several attempts after Whayo referred the matter to him for a comment.
Nyirenda, Gomani and Chisambi were not available for comment as their mobile phones were out of reach.
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