Kenya’s football federation has asked the country’s parliament to approve laws that criminalise match-fixing.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa believes the absence of local laws to address the issue has led to a rise in cases.
He said: “The federation can only take action against match-fixers who are our members but this is not enough.”
At a hearing of the Sports and Culture Committee, Mwendwa told MPs: “We have cases where individuals suspected of match-fixing are arrested and presented in a court of law, only for the cases to be dismissed for lack of legislative provisions to deal with the problem.
“We need to have people arrested and punished so we can end this vice.”
Mwendwa added inadequate financial resources at both club and federation level means teams and match officials can become vulnerable to match-fixing gangs, stating this was particularly true while the FKF was under a suspension handed out by the government over an alleged misappropriation of funds.
“The vice took root in our leagues between November 2021 and October 2022 when FKF was suspended,” he said. “Match-fixers took advantage of the fact that there was no regulator with the expertise to detect and track what was happening.”
Mwendwa also told the committee that match-fixing is mostly run by syndicates operating out of Asia who approach players and officials to manipulate games.
“When football is manipulated it ruins the authenticity of the game which drives fans away,” he added.
“It’s clear that match-fixing is a massive threat to football as a sport and an industry.”
So far, the FKF has suspended 25 individuals, consisting of 18 players and seven match officials.
MP Daniel Wanyama, the committee chair, agreed there was an urgent need to enact laws to punish match-fixing.
“We have heard you. We will help put in place legislation to criminalise match-fixing so that those who engage in this vice can be charged and arrested in a court of law,” he said.
In 2019, Fifa demanded a full investigation into claims that several men’s international matches had been fixed, including a 2010 World Cup qualifier.
Efforts by the FKF to clean up the game follow recent comments by former Kenya captain and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama. He told BBC Sport Africa he would not agree to return to the national team until those running the game showed “more professionalism”.