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Blundering referees hit with suspension as FKF cracks whip

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FIFA referee Israel Mpaima is one of the five match officials suspended for 90 days by FKF. PHOTO/COURTESY

FIFA referee Israel Mpaima is one of the five match officials suspended for 90 days by FKF. PHOTO/COURTESY

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5 – Five referees and one match commissioner have borne the full brunt of their poor officiating after the Football Kenya Federation handed them 90 day suspensions after being found culpable of making questionable decisions in matches.

Among the five set to be sidelined possibly until next season are FIFA referees Israel Mpaima and Joshua Achila. Also being asked to step aside are centre Oliver Ouma, Godfrey Ndiva and Zachariah Achira – all assistant referees – decisions reached after a meeting of the FKF referees commission.

Mpaima was handed his suspension over his decision to award Tusker an 89th minute penalty against Ulinzi Stars in Nakuru on July 10, the brewers winning the game 2-1 courtesy of the late goal, with the ref’s commission reviewing the footage and finding the decision was wrong.

Ouma in his case was found guilty of wrongly flagging for an offside, a legitimate goal by Chemelil Sugar in their match against Tusker a week later, a game that ended two-all.

The same case of disallowing a legitimate goal for an offside also cost Ndiva his place in the referee’s roster for the next three months, having denied Homeboyz a clear goal in their match against Gor Mahia.

In contrast, Achira was found guilty of allowing an offside goal by AFC Leopards to stand in their match against Mathare United on July 16. The match’s centre referee Achila was suspended after failing to award Leopards a legitimate penalty.

Match commissioner Dominic Wenda has also been served with a three month suspension after failing to report an incident in Muhoroni where an assistant referee was attacked by a section of the home crowd.

“We are not saying we have struck them off the list of referees. They will be asked to step aside from their duties for the next 90 days where after that we will take them back, re-train and re-interview them so that this same mistake does not happen again,” FKF President Nick Mwendwa said.

At the same time, Mwendwa said the federation is taking measures to investigate claims that some club officials, with specific referral to Muhoroni Youth, intimidate match officials to turn them to their favour.

He promised the federation will take action once sufficient evidence is picked, admitting they have received several reports over the same.

“It has reached a point where we had to look at ourselves and ensure we raise the standard of our game. We have had complains raised by clubs, there have been reviews and opinions sought from experts and based on that opinion we have come to take action.”

“We are also looking at those rogue team officials who have been notorious for intimidating referees and we are starting with this particular Muhoroni Youth v Sony Sugar match. We are reviewing the evidence and the next action is against administrators who are perpetrating such things,” Mwendwa added.

He also warned referees that their every action is being watched and the federation will stop at nothing to ensure appropriate action is taken to curb bias among referees.

Also of concern to the federation is the allegation of betting among referees and players and he says the federation is putting up mechanism to ensure such is put off though he admits it will be no mean task.

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