The recent reports of allegations of Match Fixing scandals in Kenyan Football are not only worrying but it’s retrogressive to the many strides being made to restore Kenya’s Football image.
Only recently Kenya’s ban by FIFA was recently lifted after a lengthy suspension from all football activities by the World Football governing body.
Prosecutions in court over match-fixing claims
And now, three individuals have been detained in connection with an investigation into a possible match-fixing ring that they are accused of interfering with football games in Kenyan levels.
According to the Football Kenya Federation, the arrests take place as Kenya’s leagues come under increased scrutiny for match-fixing and player corruption in events that are approved by the FKF.
Barry Otieno, the head of the FKF, stated in a statement that one Kenyan and two foreigners had been detained for “involved in issuing bribes and match-fixing.” He did not provide their identities.
“Due to the sensitivity of the case, FKF will not be commenting further on the matter until investigations are concluded.”
Otieno stated that the federation was dedicated to upholding the integrity of the game and was collaborating with national and international law enforcement to bring the offenders to justice.
Effects of match-fixing on the Kenyan Leagues.
In recent months, several suspensions have been imposed on Kenyan leagues as a result of a national investigation into football match-fixing for gambling purposes.
Two Mathare United players from Nairobi were prohibited from participating in any football-related activities last month until investigations into their alleged involvement in the match-fixing ring were finished.
Following a tip to FKF concerning match-fixing in the national league, 14 further players and two coaches were punished for the offense in January.
Six players from Zoo Kericho FC, which was booted from the Kenyan Premier League in 2021 after being found guilty of match-fixing by FIFA’s integrity unit, were among those suspended.
FIFA suspended four Kenyan players in February 2020, including one for the rest of his career, for their involvement in a “international conspiracy” to rig league games.
ongoing reports about the game Fixing is disgusting and bad for the beautiful game in Kenyan football. The pattern will undermine the faith and trust of many stakeholders that have a stake in Kenyan football, including sponsors, broadcast partners, the media, and many others.
Scandals involving match fixing have the potential to undermine and reverse the FKF’s efforts to revive Kenyan football.
Plea to Criminalizing Match Fixing in Kenya
The Kenyan Football Federation has requested that the nation’s lawmakers pass rules making match-fixing illegal.
The request comes in the wake of an earlier this year probe that resulted in the suspension of several players and officials.
The lack of local legislation to handle the problem, according to Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa, has resulted in an increase in cases.
“The federation can only take action against match-fixers who are our members but this is not enough.” said Mwendwa.
“We have cases where individuals suspected of match-fixing are arrested and presented in a court of law, only for the cases to be dismissed for lack of legislative provisions to deal with the problem. We need to have people arrested and punished so we can end this vice.” Mwendwa stated at a hearing of the Sports and Culture Committee with Members of Parliament.
“Inadequate financial resources at both club and federation levels means teams and match officials can become vulnerable to match-fixing gangs, stating this was particularly true while the vice took root in our leagues between November 2021 and October 2022 when FKF was suspended,” he said. “Match-fixers took advantage of the fact that there was no regulator with the expertise to detect and track what was happening.”
Mwendwa further informed the committee that most Asian-based syndicates that manipulate games by approaching players and officials are responsible for match-fixing.
“When football is manipulated it ruins the authenticity of the game which drives fans away,” he added.
“It’s clear that match-fixing is a massive threat to football as a sport and an industry.”
25 people have received suspensions from the FKF thus far, including 18 players and 7 match officials. The committee’s chair, MP Daniel Wanyama, concurred that regulations to punish match-fixing must be passed immediately.
“We have heard you. We will help put in place legislation to criminalize match-fixing so that those who engage in this vice can be charged and arrested in a court of law,” he said.
Fifa urged a thorough inquiry in 2019 into allegations that a number of men’s international matches, including a 2010 World Cup qualifier, had been rigged.
The FKF is making an effort to improve the game in response to remarks made recently by former Kenyan captain and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama. He stated to BBC Sport Africa that he wouldn’t consent to rejoin the national squad unless the game’s administrators displayed “more professionalism.”
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