National Football Referees Association (NFRA) has banned three referees who were found guilty of allegedly pocketing K15,000 to fix the game between Chitipa United and Nchalo football clubs in Carlsberg Cup at Mzuzu Stadium in July.
Azizi Nyirenda and his assistants Limbani Chisambi and Jimmy Phiri and fourth official Stephano Gomani have been banned from officiating any game in their life in the country.
The ban comes barely weeks after Northern Region Referees disciplinary committee suspended the four Mzuzu based referees for receiving the bribe from Nchalo Football Club for the game they officiated on July 13,2017.
NRFA General Secretary, Chris Kalichero confirmed in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Wednesday saying the disciplinary committee has offered the stiffer punishment because their conduct was a disgrace to the football fraternity.
“We have banned them not to take control of any game played in this country because what they did was a very bad thing to soccer lovers in Malawi.
“They have tarnished our image across the world for receiving bribes which is very unfair as far as football is concerned. Match fixing is a serious offence; they should have been exemplary to maintain their human dignity,” he pointed out.
Kalichero further urged other referees to learn from their colleagues’ punishment.
The General Secretary explained it is up to Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to decide on the fate of the bribing team.
NFRA has given the banned officials a chance to appeal elsewhere in 14 days effective September 25, 2017.
However, one of the affected Stephano Gomani has blamed NFRA for coming up with a verdict without hearing their side of the story.
“We are shocked with how they have come up with a judgment without hearing our side. They just phoned to tell us that we should not officiate any game in the country and that official letters would be sent to us any day. We would take another step,” he viewed.
According to a verdict by NRRC, Nyirenda and Chisambi (Grade 1) were serving two-month ban while Gomani (Grade 1) and Phiri (Grade 2) were serving four-month suspension.