Whip finally cracks on incompetent referees


(FILES)Assistant referee George Mwangi is attacked by a Gor Mahia fan during their Sportpesa ...
(FILES)Assistant referee George Mwangi is attacked by a Gor Mahia fan during their Sportpesa Premier League match against Tusker FC at the Nyayo National stadium in Nairobi, Kenya on April 16, 2016. Tusker FC won 1-0. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha

Disciplinary proceedings have been instituted against match officials in last weekend’s contentious Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Top 8 clashes as the whip starts to crack on incompetent refereeing in domestic football following the recent uproar.

In a bid to redeem the tattered image of match officiating in domestic competitions, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) announced on Friday that its Referees’ Committee had suspended assistant John Olando for three weeks for suspect officiating in a game where holders Gor Mahia scraped through to the semis with a 1-0 victory over Ushuru FC last Saturday.

Further, KPL chief executive, Jack Oguda, told Citizen Digital the center referee in that game; Israel Mpaima is also under investigation after the match officials failed to spot four K’Ogalo players blatantly offside during the move that culminated with Rwandese international; Jacques Tuyisenge to bury a second half winner to lift the champions to the last four.

The goal stood despite fierce protests from Ushuru whose coach, Ken Kenyatta, initially thought of calling his men off the pitch before he changed his mind in  face of the mindless travesty of justice.

The Committee also served center referee Antony Ogwayo with a warning letter for inconsistency in the application of the laws of the game in Ulinzi Stars quarterfinal against AFC Leopards.

FKF has further summoned center referee, Raymond Onyango, to explain his actions in yet another Top 8 match that saw Muhoroni Youth take on Sofapaka with the former winning 3-1 to make the semis.

Onyango has been summoned to appear before the next committee meeting before a decision is made since it found that Moses Arita warranted a red card for elbowing an opponent ,the striker has since been suspended for two matches .

Referee Peter Waweru’s failure to honour pre-match meetings as required by law also saw him issued with a warning with stern action likely to be taken against him for a repeat offence.

“The center referee and one assistant ref of the top 8 clash between Gor Mahia and Ushuru are the ones being investigated by the referees association, it’s good to be fair for both sides as we conduct the investigations because this referees are also human beings .

“We looked at the videos of the incident but at it stands the two officials will not take charge of any match in the league until a decision is reached,” Oguda told Citizen Digital.

The Top 8 refereeing mess is the latest in a string of complaints against match officials with some of their decisions accused of sparking incidents of hooliganism in the stands.

On April 16, the SportPesa Premier League clash between Gor and Tusker FC was held up for over 12 minutes when K’Ogalo fans protested the award of a penalty that led to chaos in the stands forcing police to lobby teargas to the charged supporters to quell riots.

The game ended 1-0 and after the match, an irate hooligan broke through security to assault assistant referee George Mwangi who awarded the penalty tucked in by Humphrey Mieno for the decider.

A week later, the league clash between arch rivals, AFC Leopards and Ulinzi aborted with 10 minutes to go when rowdy Ingwe supporters stormed the pitch and attacked  match officials when the Soldiers were given a second penalty of the game with scores 1-1.

Both Gor and Leopards were charged for the fracas with KPL declaring the latter had lost the game 2-0.

“My team has been a victim of poor officiating in the league for some time I have complained to the authorities and I believe the issue is being handled in the right way.

“Every team in the Premier League needs to be treated the same. It’s a competition and everyone wants to win so we need to have a balanced playing field,” Ushuru boss, Kenyatta charged.

The league and Top 8 champions, K’Ogalo on their part deny they are given preferential treatment by referees intimidated by their vociferous supporters.

“It’s not about fan pressure. It is about incompetent officials that take charges in some matches. Gor is not favored by anyone. We work hard for our results and our fans have never put pressure on any official to favour our team.

“We have also been victims of poor decisions by our match officials like the Tusker game. KPL should punish the officials involved for it to be a lesson to the others not to compromise in future,’’ club secretary, Ronald Ngara.

Leopards co-chairman, Dan Mule echoed Ngara’s sentiments calling for the whip to crack on errant whistlers.

“Most of the fracas in the Premier League occurs because of poor officiating. It’s high time serious action is taken on match officials responsible for making bad decisions. If that is done, fans will be convinced the federation is serious with the fight against poor officiating,” Mule underscored.

In an effort aimed at improving checks and balances, the FKF Referees Committee has resolved to come up with a code of regulation to act as a guideline in dealing with poor officiating.

A score sheet to aid in evaluation of referees and Match Commissioner’s performances will also be introduced.

They also agreed that issuing of certificates to newly recruited referees should be centralized, with each referee required to pay Ksh1000 to the national office for the certificate and classification.

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Story By John Kyanda
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