Jimmy Phiri, who is reported to have received a bribe of K15,000 from Nchalo United during their Carlsberg Cup tie against Chitipa United to influence results, has said his fellow referees are innocent.
According to Phiri, the three referee and assistant refereees who officiated the match pocketed nothing from Nchalo United.
National Referees Committee slapped life bans on referee Alfred Aziz Nyirenda, assistant referees Limbani Chisambi and Stephano Gomani and fourth official Phiri after they were found guilty of receiving the bribe from Nchalo United officials.
However, Phiri, who was not part of the officiating personel, is said to have received the said amount but failed to share it with his friends as the game was already in progress.
Speaking for the first time since the incident, Phiri told a local radio station that his friends are innocent.
“They are innocent. They pocketed nothing out of the said amount. I was the one who received the money from Nchalo United officials to share with my fellows but I failed to do so because the game was already in progress.
“I thought the money was given to me out of goodwill but I was surprised that after the end of the match, the officials ordered me to return their money and that’s when I realized that I wasn’t given out of goodwill,” he said.
Meanwhile, the referees have vowed to appeal against the decision to have them completely banned from officiating matches.