The Star (Nairobi)

27 February 2013

Kenya: Leopards Blame Referee Over Fracas

AFC Leopards chairman Alex ole magelo has blamed Kenyan Premier League for the fracas that erupted during the club's opening match at the Moi Kasarani over the weekend.

Magelo said KPL handed the officiating duties to referee James Kagera knowing too well that the referee had just served a six-month suspension.

Apparently, Kagera had been suspended after awarding Ingwe a dubious penalty against City Stars in their KPL second leg match.

"I can't understand why KPL gave the referee such a match. Tell me, what if it was a match between Gor Mahia and ourselves," asked Magelo.

Leopards' fans vented their anger on the referee after he sent off top striker Mike Baraza for a second bookable offence in the 1-1 stalemate against Chemelil, halting the match for seven minutes.

"I think he is always having a fixed mind that a particular team must win," Magelo said of Kagera. "We have many wonderful referees who are consistent and diligent and who should be officiating some of these big matches."

"We are going to write to KPL and Football Kenya Federation protesting the red-card and have it rescinded," added Magelo."We have also instructed the technical bench not to honour any match--be it KPL or the cups--if Kagera is involved in any way."

"I also want to say that we (clubs) are not going to bear responsibilities when referees make such kind of mistakes."These decisions have been the recipe for violence that amounts to us (clubs) being fined heavily," observed Magelo.

"These officials are denying the teams, which we have developed through heavy investments, a chance to compete in a level playing ground and it is time FKF intervened to see to it that this behavior is eliminated," added Magelo.

He, however, added that some referees have shown professionalism in their officiating and it is only them that should be involved. "I don't mean we don't have good referees, no! We do and only those who are consistent should be picked," concluded Magelo.

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