Football referee Kalibbala banned for 15 years over match fixing

Referee John Bosco Kalibala tosing a coin

The Federation of Uganda’s Football Associations (Fufa) has banned referee John Bosco Kalibbala from taking part in any football-related activity for 15 years after being found guilty of manipulation of results. 

In a statement, Fufa indicates that the ethics and disciplinary committee made investigations on the two games that Kalibbala officiated last year and found him guilty of receiving financial gain in return for influencing the outcome of the matches.

“Upon critical analysis of the evidence on the file and the submissions of Mr Kalibala, the committee found the referee guilty of infringement of Article 31 of the Fufa ethics and disciplinary code (duty to report) and Article 44 of the Fufa ethics and disciplinary code (manipulation of football matches or competitions),” Fufa said in a statement.  

“The ethics and disciplinary committee analyzed the evidence on the file namely the Caf match integrity report for match No. 59 Tooro United v UPDF played on 30th November 2021, an investigation into match No. 90 Gaddafi FC Vs Onduparaka FC played on 21st December 2021 as well as his own admissions and established that in the matches mentioned above and on other numerous occasions, Kalibbala received a financial gain in return for influencing the outcome of the matches,” Fufa said.

In the said matches, UPDF defeated Tooro United 4-2 in match no. 59, while Gaddafi’s encounter with Onduparaka ended in a 2-all draw. But in the game between Tooro United and UPDF, referee Kalibala awarded four penalties, two for each side. The federation however did not specify which other parties were involved in the case.  

It is from this background that the federation banned the referee from all football-related activity at the national level (administrative, sports, or any other) for a period of 15 years. This is a continuation of the match manipulation agony that has for long defined Uganda’s football industry.

Oftentimes, club officials, coaches, referees, and players have been accused of taking part in match-fixing. In March 2022, Fufa banned former Police FC marketing and sales manager, Abraham Luzzi, local football coach James Kaweesa, and sports journalist David Isabirye from taking part in football activities at the national and international levels over match-fixing.  

In April 2021, the former Uganda Premier League side, Kyetume FC indefinitely suspended three players including goalkeeper Joel Mutakubwa, defender Julius Ntambi and team captain Mustafa Mujjuzi, over allegations of match-fixing after the team lost to Kitara FC.

In December 2021, the former Nyamityobora FC patron Ali Sekatawa resigned amid allegations of match-fixing and sports betting. In his resignation letter, Sekatawa said that match-fixing and sports betting had marred football in Uganda including top leagues.  

Speaking to journalists last month, Fufa president Moses Magogo stated that one of the key issues that his proposed National Sports bill aims to address is to stop match-fixing and make it illegal for any football stakeholder to participate in the predetermination of results. Football stakeholders in this context include, among others, referees, coaches or trainers, players, and football club owners.

Source: The Observer

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