National Referee Association (NRA) has banned four football referees for life for match-fixing after they received just $20 between them to fix a game and on allegations that they pocketed k15,000 from the bribe.
Referee Aziz Nyirenda, assistant referees Limbani Chisambi and Stephano Gomani, and fourth official Jimmy Phiri, were all found guilty of fixing a national cup match between lower league team Nchalo United and Chitipa United.
The match-fixing was revealed after Nchalo United, the team that bribed the refs, lost in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw and demanded their money back amounting to k25,000. When the referees could only stump up K15,000 Nchalo went to the authorities.
No sanctions have been announced against the team but there is a case against Nchalo pending.
The life ban for the four officials was announced by the Malawian referees association.
Although the result wasn’t what they were aiming for, Malawi National Referees Association general secretary Chris Kalichero said there was still an “element of game-fixing” by the officials and “when you commit such a crime, a life ban is the punishment.”
Chisambi, one of the assistant referees, denied wrongdoing, saying: “I never took [a] share of the money. It is so sad that my career has ended in this manner.”
Last year, another referee was banned for life for incompetence.