The Independent Disciplinary and Complaints Committee (IDCC) has issued a ruling over match number 46 involving AFC Leopards against Nzoia Sugar where immediate former AFC Leopards Organising Secretary Timothy Lilumbi assaulted centre referee George Mwai.
The club, AFC Leopards, has been fined Ksh 300,000 while Lilumbi has also been fined a similar amount and banned from any football-related activities for five months.
We have considered the oral evidence and the documentary evidence as a whole.
We equally have taken note of the demeanor of the two witnesses. An assault is technically a tress pass on the person. This would infer that barring any obstructing aspects, the victim would be well placed to narrate the incident of assault. Mr Mwai told the tribunal that his assailant was a person well known to him. Nothing was presented to suppose that he did not see who had hit him. No reason was given why he would say it was Mr Lilumbi if it was anyone else i.e. he had no prior grudge with the assailant. These averments were also corroborated by the match commissioners report.
We find no reason to dispute the rendition of Mr Mwai. We do not hesitate to hold that Mr Lilumbi, an official of AFC Leopards assaulted Mr Mwai and caused fans to join in the said misconduct.
The Rules Governing Kenyan Football, specifically Rule 3.4 apply titled “Responsibilities of
Clubs” in Rule 3.4 (a) states that:
“Clubs are responsible for the conduct of their members and supporters and must ensure they believe in a fair manner and refrain from violent, threatening, abusive, obscene and other provocative and unsporting conduct or language.
The club has what is termed vicarious liability for acts of its members and supports (see rule 7.8). It is an undisputed fact that Mr Lilumbi is such a member and official of AFC Leopards.
We thus hold that the club is guilty as charged and Mr Lilumbi is guilty as charged.
The place of a referee and other match officials in the game of football is sacrosanct. They act as independent umpires who ensure that the game is fair, balanced and credible. Beyond this, they are human beings whose rights are just as important and fundamental as anyone else. They are there to render a service and not to be denigrated by the players or the officials.
This tribunal frowns on the conduct of officials and clubs who would so easily take matters into their own hands and bring harm to match officials and bring the game into disrepute. There is no room for such hooliganism in the modern game and the same must be stamped out.
Indeed Rule 7.7 of the FKF Rules specifically addressed this issue and is titled “Assaults on
Officials”. It provides inter alia, that:
“Assault means any intentional physical contact with an official carrying out any officially recognized duties at a match organized or authorized by the KFF”.
It then goes ahead to define different classes of assault, in three categories, we have reviewed the same and based on the evidence we find all the ingredients of a common assault. We would not have hesitated to find this assault under paragraph (b) as an assault causing bodily harm, save that the victim failed to provide us with a duly filled P.3 form that would have conclusively settled the bodily harm.
In conclusion, therefore, we hold that the Respondents are guilty as charged and sentence them as follows. The club is guilty of a violation of Rule 3-4 and is hereby fined Kshs. 300,000/- in light of the exacerbating circumstances that its official assaulted a match official. This sum to be paid within 30 days of this decision.
Mr Timothy Lilumbi is guilty of violating Rule 7.7 and the said rule in Rule 7.7 (a) prescribes as follows:
“ (a) Common Assault: if the case is substantiated to the satisfaction of the committee, the member will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days and may be fined or face disciplinary action”.
The definition part of the rules states that a member “means a Branch or a Club approved by KFF Governing Council but also includes the elected, appointed and employed officials and players of clubs and the KFF.
If it were not for the expanded definition of ‘member’ we would have suspended the club. However, in light of the extended definition, we do hold Mr Lilumbi to be a member within the context ascribed.
Mr Lilumbi is hereby suspended from any and all football-related activities for a period of one hundred and fifty (150) days from the date of this ruling.
Mr Lilumbi is also personally fined Kshs. 300,000/- to be paid within thirty (30) days of this Order, failing which the club will espouse vicarious liability and be compelled to pay the amount in place of its official if he defaults.