African referees are now scared of accepting bribes following the Confederation of African Football’s clampdown on corruption among officials according to the chairman of CAF’s refereeing committee.
Souleiman Hassan Waberi, who is also the president of the Djibouti FA, has vowed that African football’s governing body will continue their battle against the corruption that affects the sport in Africa.
“All referees are now afraid to take bribes,” Waberi told KweséESPN. “The referees know very well that once they are caught it’s the end of their careers because it is zero tolerance to corruption in football.
“I have been a referee before, an instructor and even head of referees’ committee in CECAFA, and I know some of the things that have happened for years in relation to how referees are bribed.
“We banned referees this year after viewing the recording that implicated some of them taking money,” Waberi continued. “That video had really helped us and it has sent a strong message out there that everyone is watching over corruption in football.”
Various African officials have been banned by CAF in recent months, following an investigation into allegations made by a Ghanaian investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas who filmed referees allegedly taking bribes.
Kenyan referee Marwa Range had to resign his World Cup post, and was subsequently banned by CAF for all football-related activities, after being allegedly recorded taking bribes.
Similarly, Nigerian referee Joseph Ogabor was banned from all football activities for one year for attempted match manipulation.
In August, CAF banned eight Ghanaian football officials – one for life – as the fallout from the undercover exposé into widespread corruption in the country’s game continued.
“When I arrived in the referees’ committee, I convinced the CAF executive to increase allowances of referees and also make sure that CAF pays referees and not clubs,” Waberi continued. “This has helped to avoid the chances of encouraging bribery.
“We watch all matches and scrutinize the recordings to assess how referees perform and they are aware they are being watched.
“We can see lots of improvement among the referees and this explains why our referees at the 2018 FIFA World Cup performed really well,” he concluded. “We shall not tolerate corruption among the referees and football in general.
“We want a sport free from corruption.”
The BBC’s documentary also resulted in the disintegration of the Ghana Football Association after former president Kwesi Nyanyakyi was allegedly shown accepting a cash gift of $65,000 (£48,000).
FIFA also announced last month that CAF executive committee member and Zambia great Kalusha Bwalya had been banned from all football-related activities for two years for FIFA Code of Ethics violations.