Life-time bans for Tanzanian refs

Tanzanian referee Othman Kazi
Referee Othman Kazi denies taking a bribe for a game in Tanzania

The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) has imposed life bans on four premier league referees and fined a club US$10,000 after it found them guilty of corruption.

The officials allegedly received around US$200 from premier league side, Majimaji FC, to fix their match against Mtibwa Sugar last month.

Majimaji, who eventually won the game 1-0, were fined US$10,000 for their misconduct.

The TFF spokesperson Florian Kaijage claimed that the club also covered the officials’ accommodation and gave them air tickets for their journey back to Dar es Salaam from Ruvuma in Southern Tanzania, where the match was being played.

Match officials are normally given money by the TFF to cover their return travel by bus to games, for their food and accommodation as well as a small allowance.

“After learning of the bribery case, the TFF formed a probe committee, which investigated the matter and later established that indeed the referees were bribed,” Kaijage told BBC Sport.

“They have been banned in accordance with TFF and Fifa regulations.”

Two members of the referee’s committee in Ruvuma, where the incident took place, were also banned for five years.

But the match referee, Othman Kazi, insisted to BBC Sport that they were given a bribe but never planned to keep the money.

“Majimaji brought us the money, but we refused to take it, then they threw it at us,” he told BBC Sport.

“We then decided to pick up the money and handed it over to TFF.

“We are the ones who reported the incident, how can they ban us?

“I am very surprised, but we are going to be vindicated.

“We paid for our food, accommodation and air tickets, I can swear nobody paid for us.”

But Kaijage said their failure to include the bribe incident in their match report indicated they accepted it.

Majimaji vice chairman Hemed Dizumba refused to talk, when contacted, saying they had explained themselves to the TFF.

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