FAM overturns refs life bans

Football Association of Malawi (FAM) disciplinary committee has overturned life bans imposed on four referees accused of accepting a K15 000 bribe to influence a Carlsberg Cup match between Chitipa United and Nchalo United.

The disciplinary committee has, however, suspended Nchalo United FC general secretary Enock Whayo, coach Mavuto Lungu and technical director Patson Nyengo for the attempted match-fixing with the K15 000 euphemistically referred to as ‘ya mzimbe’.

Cannot coach for three
years: Lungu

Initially, Northern Region Football Committee suspended centre referee Azizi Nyirenda, assistants Limbani Chisambi and Lameck Phiri and fourth official Stephano Gomani.

But the National Football Referees Association decided to impose life bans after conducting its own investigations.

However, a FAM disciplinary committee, which heard the case last week, has set aside the life bans and suspended the referees for failing to report the incident.

“Mr. Limbani Chisambi has been banned from taking part in any football-related activity for four months. Mr. Stephano Gomani has been banned from taking part in any football-related activity for 18 months. Mr. George Azizi Nyirenda has been banned from taking part in any football-related activity for two months,” reads the ruling in part.

All the suspensions are effective from July 13 2017, meaning that Nyirenda and Chisambi are free to officiate matches. Phiri, however, has been exonerated.

The disciplinary committee has also docked three points from Nchalo United in the 2018 TNM Super League.

A summary of the ruling, signed by FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda, states that the disciplinary committee decided to set aside the life bans because its findings showed that there was no match-fixing.

The ruling also states that a Nangantani Phiri admitted to receiving the K15 000 meant to be used to bribe match officials, but never handed over the money.

He has since been banned from taking part in any football-related activity for 36 months.

Phiri has further been banned from entering any stadium in Malawi for 10 months, effective February 8 2018.

Whayo has been banned from taking part in any football-related activity for 36 months, and banned from entering any stadium in Malawi for 10 months.

Nyengo has been suspended from taking part in any football-related activity for 36 months and entering any stadium in Malawi for 10 months.

Coach Lungu has been banned from taking part in any football-related activity for 36 months and banned from entering any stadium in Malawi for 10 months.

FAM acting competitions manager Casper Jangale said those who want to appeal can do so.

“Any aggrieved party is free to appeal to the FAM’s Appeals Committee having fulfilled the necessary conditions as stipulated in the FAM Disciplinary Code,” he said.

But analyst Charles Nyirenda applauded FAM for concluding the case.

“This case dates back as far as July 2017. It’s high time it was concluded. I think it sets an example to others who would want to indulge in such behaviour in future,” he said.

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