Libya has reportedly petitioned Fifa to order a replay of their 2018 World Cup qualifier on grounds that the match referee may have been influenced due to his marriage to a Tunisian woman.
The referee in question, Davies Omweno, a Kenyan, was subsequently handed a three-month suspension by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) for his controversial performance. Same was handed his assistant Berhe O’Michael from Eritrea.
Owmeno, who is considered Kenya’s best referee, was charged with wrong positioning, movement and failure to administer disciplinary sanctions during the second match in Group A of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers at the Omar Hamadi Stadium in Algeria.
Tunisia won the away fixture 1-0 on November 11, 2016. Referee Omweno wrongly disallowed a valid goal by Libya for offside while the Libyan captain being sent off early in the second half before the Tunisians scored the winner from the penalty spot.
Ten months after the incident, a report emerging from Libyan website Libyaobserver.ly claims:
“The Libyan Football Federation lodged a request to the sports court of the FIFA asking for a rematch with the Tunisian team as part of the second round of the World Cup qualifiers, as the Kenyan referee was proved to be married to a Tunisian woman and is living in there.”
The case makes for an interesting one as Fifa may have to investigate the degree of influence one’s marital relationship may have on his/her performance and in this case, on referee Davies Omweno who is now known to have a Tunisian wife.
Fifa, last week, set a new precedent in calling for the replay of a match due to the poor performance of a referee. It determined Ghanaian Joseph Lamptey had been involved in match manipulation after giving a non-existent penalty. Coincidentally, this was in a game Senegal lost 2-1 to South Africa on Day 2 of the African qualifiers to the World Cup.