Four football referees in Malawi have been banned for life after they received a $20 bribe to fix a national cup match between Nchalo United and Chitipa United.
However, Nchalo United, the team from which the referees accepted the bribe, lost the match.
The club demanded the return of the $20, however, they only repaid $15. In retaliation Nchalo reported them.
The incident occurred in a Malawi Carlsberg Cup round of 16 match on July 13.
The four refs, Nziz Nyirenda, Limbani Chisambi, Stephano Gomani and Jimmy Phiri, were apparently unable to provide the promised help to Nchalo United, mostly because their rivals Chitipa were playing some outstanding football.
In a bid to help the bribers, the officials awarded them a penalty. But it wasn’t enough. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, after which Chitipa thrashed Nchalo in a penalty shoot-out.
For this reason, the referees returned the money, or at least most of it, leaving them with $5 to split between the four.
Life ban for match-fixing referees
Malawi National Referees Association general secretary Chris Kalicher, said that, despite the result, there was still an “element of game-fixing” by the officials.
'When you commit such a crime, a life ban is the punishment,' said Kalicher.
This week, the life ban for the four officials was confirmed by the Malawian Referees Association.
No sanctions were announced against Nchalo United, but the case is still pending.
Limbani Chismabi, one of the implicated refs, denied participating in the wrongdoing.
'I never took a share of the money. It is so sad that my career has ended in this manner,' said the official.