Fifa slaps 10-year ban on George Owino for match fixing

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Former Harambee Stars defender George Owino Audi has appealed a ten-year ban slapped on him by Fifa.

Speaking to Nation Sport on phone from Portugal, Owino’s lawyer Felix Majani confirmed he has lodged an appeal on the ruling to Fifa Appeals committee in Zurich.

He also stated he was in the process of filing a separate appeal to apply for a stay of the ban so as to enable the 37-year footballer to continue working at a Nairobi based football academy.

Majani did not clarify whether his appeal is aimed at shortening the length of the ban or if he maintains his client is innocent of all the allegations leveled against him.

BETTING PURPOSES

Majani’s rebuttal came hours after Fifa slapped the former Mathare United defender with a ten-year ban from all football activities after an ‘extensive investigation’ found him guilty of manipulating the outcome of football matches for betting purposes.

Owino, whom Nation Sport exclusively called out in an exclusive expose in February, was officially informed of the punishment on Tuesday morning.

He has also been fined an equivalent of Sh1.5 million (CHF 15,000).

“The formal disciplinary proceedings into the aforementioned individuals stemmed from an extensive investigation into various international matches that (match agent) Mr Wilson Raj Perumal attempted to manipulate for betting purposes,” the Fifa statement read in part.

The ban prohibits him from coaching or getting involved in managing football at an administrative level.

Fifa claimed Owino, through 177 email communications exchanged between him and Perumal, conspired to manipulate and influence the result of international matches involving the Kenya national football team.

Perumal  used Owino to identify several Harambee Stars players for the task in which unspecified amount of money exchanged money between 2009-2011.

LUCRATIVE OPPORTUNITIES

To sweeten the deal, Perujmal – who has been sentenced to prison in Finland and Hungary over the offences – offered Owino lucrative opportunities to play in Australia.

“The purpose I’m going to bring you there (Australia) is for business, but you have to remain loyal to me only. Remain free (don’t sign for another club). Salary each month is Sh30,000 (Sh3 million). If I say lose (a game), you do as I say, or else you won’t see your salary.”

To which Owino replied; “Fine no problem.”

Fifa also announced that nine other footballers from Benin, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Trinidad and Tobago had been banned for life.