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FIFA suspends Kenya's list of international referees

NAIROBI, Nov 10 (Reuters) - FIFA has suspended a list of international referees submitted by Kenya last month after allegations of corruption in their recruitment, officials said on Friday.

FIFA deputy general secretary Michael Schallhart said the world soccer body had initiated immediate investigations into the exercise.

'The FIFA Referees Committee has decided to suspend the lists of nominations submitted by Kenya Football Federation until further notice. An investigation has been started,' Schallart said in a letter to KFF made available to Reuters.

The accusations of graft were revealed last month by Kenya Football Referees Association Secretary-General G.M.T. Ottieno a week after FIFA suspended the east African nation from international competition indefinitely.

The government dissolved the federation 10 days later and set up a careteker committee to run the sport.

Ottieno, a retired FIFA referee, said referees wanting to appear on a list of candidates to be submitted by KFF to the world soccer body were asked to pay for their place.

'The exercise was riddled with bribery, nepotism and other underhand dealings and FIFA should disregard the list of 27 referees sent to them and stick to the old list for the time being,' Ottieno wrote in a letter to FIFA, the African ruling body CAF and the dissolved KFF.

He said two referees had told him they had refused to pay and had not appeared on the list.

'The recruiting agents were asking for as much as 60,000 Kenya shillings ($834.50) to include names in the list. They were being asked to pay for an exercise which was funded by FIFA,' Ottieno said.