- The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has banned Nigerian referee Joseph Ogabor for one year
- He was banned for his role in a match fixing investigation
- The elite African football regulating body also cautioned Plateau United to ”refrain from the practice of hospitality gifts which tend to create wrong impression.”
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has banned Nigerian referee Joseph Ogabor for one year for ”attempted match manipulation” during an international club match earlier this month.
The decision was made after investigations were conducted and evidence submitted by the South African match officials who were in charge of a Confederation Cup game in Lagos on April 7 between Nigerian team Plateau United and Algerian club USM Alger which Plateau United won it 2-1.
CAF said in a brief statement Sunday that those officials had been contacted by Ogabor to provide ”technical assistance” – or provide favor – to the Nigerian team.
CAF added that its referees committee accepted the recommendation of its disciplinary board to ban Ogabor.
The elite African football regulating body also cautioned Plateau United to ”refrain from the practice of hospitality gifts which tend to create wrong impression.”
However, CAF also ordered the South African FA to apologize to its Nigerian counterpart over allegations of a $30k bribe relating to the same game.
The four South African officials in charge say they were offered $30,000 to fix it. Referee Victor Gomes, assistant referees Johannes Moshidi and Athenkosi Ndongeni, and fourth official Thando Ndzandzeka were offered the bribe in cash ahead of the game, SAFA alleged after the game.
SAFA said Gomes immediately reported the incident to CAF, which runs the Confederation Cup and opened an investigation. No details were given at the time on who was suspected of offering the bribe.
CAF concluded that ”investigations proved there was no evidence whatsoever,” regarding an attempted bribery.
The two-legged playoff match decided who reached the main group stage of the Confederation Cup, Africa’s second-biggest club competition after the African Champions League. USM Alger won the return leg 4-0 to advance.
Matching fixing allegations is not new to African football as a World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Senegal in 2016 was ordered by FIFA to be replayed after Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey was found guilty of fixing the game by awarding South Africa a penalty for a non-existent handball by a Senegalese player.
Lamptey was subsequently banned for life by FIFA, which detailed other games stretching back years where his actions came under suspicion.
As a way of sorting out match fixing incident that has plagued African football, the referees’ body in Malawi asked the national soccer association to increase the amount it pays referees and match officials, which is currently about $5 each per game.
The referees’ body argued that the low wages increased the likelihood of match officials fixing games for money.
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