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Referees body queries club officials

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Chris Kalichero

The National Referees Football Association (NRFA) has alleged that some teams officials have been making ‘suspicious’ phone calls to some of the referees on the eve of their respective fixtures.

There has been a public outcry questioning officiating standards in the country’s elite TNM Super League this season which has led to abandonment of two matches.

NRFA General Secretary Chris Kalichero advised the clubs and referees to desist from acts of bribery and corruption.

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“We have got reports that some clubs are deliberately disturbing the referees by enticing them with suspicious gifts,” Kalichero said.

Kalichero said they were following up on the reports to determine if they were true before taking action.

“It does not make sense for a club official to call a referee on the eve of the game. What is the purpose of the call?” he asked.

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Last week, the match involving league leaders Silver Strikers and Red Lions was abandoned in the 89th minute after referee Jimmy Phiri awarded the hosts a penalty.

The match was abandoned after the soldiers insisted they could not continue with play while the match was at 0–0.

Last month, the Blantyre derby between Mighty Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets was also abandoned in the 82nd minute due to violence which was triggered by poor officiating.

Super League of Malawi (Sulom) president Tiya Somba reserved his comment.

However, there are fears of match fixing in domestic football especially as the Super League title race heats up.

With just few matches played in the second round, Silver lead the log table with 39 points from 18 matches at par with Bullets but the Bankers have a game in hand.

Nomads are third with 31 points from 19 matches.

However, when contacted yesterday, both Silver Chief Executive Officer Thoko Chimbali and Bullets Chief Administrator Albert Chigoga refused to comment on the matter.

Civil Service United General Secretary Ronald Chiwaula said there was need for an urgent meeting to discuss the performance of the referees.

“It is not entertaining any more. This is pathetic and shameful,” Chiwaula said.

Football analyst George Kaudza-Masina also observed that the calibre of the referees was questionable.

“We cannot rule out corruption at this stage. The blame should also go to referees association and Fam for failing to crack the whip on the referees who will be found guilty,” he added.

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