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When referees love pieces of shekels

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I was shocked and ashamed to read in one of the local newspapers that four Mzuzu-based referees pocketed K15, 000 bribe to fix the Carlsberg Cup round- of-16 match between Chitipa United and Nchalo FC at Mzuzu Stadium on July 13.

It was reported that the referees were confronted by frustrated Nchalo officials who were demanding their money back after suffering a 3-5 loss on post-match penalties.

Nchalo officials had all the reasons to do that after feeling duped.

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The regional referees’ disciplinary committee found the four guilty of corruption and bringing the game of football into disrepute.

Football is a game which Brazilian legend Pele called beautiful but in Malawi, it has been spoiled by some individuals masquerading as referees.

However, what has annoyed me are the penalties, which have been meted out to these culprits. Some have received a four-month ban whereas some will serve a two-month ban.

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Match-fixing is a serious offence and it should not be condoned. I expect the referees’ mother body, National Referees Association, to review these punishments and take severe action against the culprits.

If you calculate the amount of money involved (K15, 000) and you divide it among the four people, each one of them was supposed to pocket a bribe of K3,750. This is big joke.

Anyway, what the soccer fraternity is concerned with is not the amount of money involved but the consequences of their action. They are so detrimental to the game.

It costs a fortune to prepare for a cup game and for someone to influence the outcome because of K3,750 or any amount is utter non-sense.

This is an ample testimony that Malawi football is not dripping in purity and innocence but it is riddled with shame.

Given all the drama that has been unfolding up north, Northern Region Football Association needs to feel ashamed of these manipulative ruthless chancers who can afford to compromise their integrity with three pieces of shekels.

It pains some of us, who crave for this beautiful game, to see it being raped left, right and centre, by people who have no remorse in their deeds.

However, Football Association of Malawi should also crack a whip on Nchalo officials for attempting to influence the outcome of the match. Those officials must be banned as well.

Match-fixing is the worm that has been eating the fabric of Malawi football and it needs to be stopped.

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