Four Mzuzu-based referees have been banned for life after Malawi National Referees Association found them guilty of match-fixing pocketing a K15 000 (about $20 ) bribe between them to fix the Carlsberg Cup round of 16 match between Chitipa United and Nchalo FC at Mzuzu Stadium on July 13and returned K10 000 ($15) to the team doing the bribing because they still lost.
Referee Aziz Nyirenda, assistant referees Limbani Chisambi and Stephano Gomani, and fourth official Jimmy Phiri, were all found guilty of match fixing.
According to evidence presented during a hearing on July 22 2017, the cat was let out of the bag after Nchalo officials allegedly openly confronted the referees to return the money soon after losing 5-3 on post-match penalties.
The disciplinary hearing, chaired by Mabvuto Msimuko, who is also Northern Region Referees Committee (NRRC) chairperson, found the four guilty of corruption and bringing the game of football into disrepute.
Malawi National Referees Association has since ordered that the four whistle men should be red carded from officiating the game for life.
The association’s general secretary Chris Kalichero said “when you commit such a crime, a life ban is the punishment.”
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Alfred Gunda has welcomed the punishment and said there is a case against Nchalo pending.
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 in Malawi was banned for life for incompetence.