FKF orders 5 KPL match officials to step aside for 90 days

Referee Israel Mpaima, assistant referee John Alando and Stephen Maina and Fourth Official Isaac Memusi ...
Referee Israel Mpaima, assistant referee John Alando and Stephen Maina and Fourth Official Isaac Memusi moments before the Kenyan Premier League clash between Ulinzi Stars FC and Tusker FC at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru. FKF has asked Mpaima to step down for 90 days. Photo/Stafford Ondego/

Football Kenya Federation has directed three centre referees, an assistant and match commissioner to stand down from duty for 90 days for dodgy officiating in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL).

The federation announced the development on Friday as it moves to clamp down on poor refereeing in the domestic top flight with games featuring log leaders, Tusker FC most affected in the purge.

Curiously, the matches in question were played within a fortnight at various venues across the country in a weekend of action where the crescendo against suspect refereeing reached its peak.

“Efforts are underway in the next couple of months to make sure that every match is recorded,” FKF boss, Nick Mwendwa said at a press briefing at their Goal Project headquarters in Nairobi.

Centre referees Oliver Ouma, Israel Mpaima and Zachariah Ashira, Godfrey Ndeva (assistant referee) and Dominic Wenda (Match Commissioner) have been asked to stay away from duty for three months.

Ouma was in charge of the clash that yielded a 2-2 draw against Chemelil Sugar in Machakos on July 17 at the Machakos Stadium where the sugar millers were denied what was in all accounts a genuine goal.

Mpaima was the man at the middle when the Brewers faced title challengers Ulinzi Stars in a 2-1 victory a week earlier (July 10) when a debatable last minute penalty made all the difference.

Ashira awarded Leopards a goal that was clearly offside netted by Kepha Aswani in the first half that saw AFC Leopards rescue a 1-1 draw against 2008 champions, Mathare United at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium on July 16.

Wenda was the Match Commissioner when Muhoroni Youth hosted Sony Sugar in an ill-tempered game that degenerated into a brawl when the home side forced a late leveller in a 2-2 draw that saw top scorer, Wycliffe Ochomo, sent off for the home side on July 10.

He failed to report an incident where fans attacked first assistant referee, Stephen Yiembe.

Ndeva was the assistant referee when champions Gor Mahia were held 1-1 by Kakamega Homeboyz in Kisumu.

It follows huge outcry over the handling of the games especially in the second leg of the competition with the title race remaining a close affair, fuelling allegations the league is fixed in favour of certain teams.

Illegal betting claims among match officials as the country continues being gripped by a betting craze have also surfaced with the KPL appointing a firm to monitor gambling trends associated with league games.

FKF also announced they were waiting for the match report before deciding the way forward following an incident where AFC Leopards hooligans assaulted Posta Rangers goal keeper, Patrick Matasi, on Wednesday in a 1-1 draw.

Additional reporting by Loise Wanjiku

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