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SAFA Vhembe bans football referee for life


One of the three referees affiliated with SAFA Vhembe who were suspended last month, following allegations of match fixing and accepting bribes to influence the outcome of matches, has since been banned for life from football after a meeting by the disciplinary committee (DC) that was held on 30 May in Thohoyandou.

The three referees were involved in allegations related to a SAFA Vhembe match played on 11 May, where Vuwani United Sports Academy faced Masakona Real Citizens. The three match officials allegedly approached the owner of Real Citizens to solicit an R1,800 bribe in return for ruling in their favour.

Mr Percy Murei appeared before the DC and was found guilty of soliciting a match bribe. He has been banned for life from officiating SAFA matches. His assistant referees, Rivhathihi Malima and Vhuhwavho Mathuli, have been suspended from participating in SAFA and their affiliated matches for two seasons, the 2024/25 and 2025/26 soccer season.

When the matter was reported to SAFA Vhembe, the association sent two members to investigate. The owner of Real Citizens allegedly recorded the trio making the demands on his phone but refused to pay the bribe. Murei, alongside his two assistant referees, allegedly solicited a R1,800 bribe, approaching a club official and asking him to pay each of them R600 to help win the match.

Another official, Refilwe Molepo, has been suspended for one season after testifying as a witness against the league in a matter involving Napoli FC and Shonisani FC. Mr Mashudu Matshipi has been suspended for the next soccer season, 2024/2025, also for testifying as a witness against the league in the same matter.

SAFA Vhembe Regional Secretary Sam Matodzi said that the three officials were among the five who had been punished for various acts of misconduct. He stated that SAFA Vhembe had decided to tackle match fixing and unethical conduct head-on by imposing a zero-tolerance policy. Matodzi appealed to all teams playing under the banner of SAFA Vhembe to report any signs of attempted match fixing and unethical conduct immediately. He said that all referees and team officials found guilty of match fixing would be reported to the police. He also welcomed the outcome of the DC, saying this would serve as a warning to other referees.



Date:08 June 2024

By: Kaizer Nengovhela

Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror in 2000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.

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