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By ESPN Staff

FIFA bans three Kenyan former soccer officials

LONDON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Three Kenyan former soccer officials have been banned from any football-related activity by FIFA's Ethics committee because of unethical behaviour and bribery, the committee announced on Thursday.

The committee, chaired by Sebastian Coe of England, ruled the three had been involved in irregularities surrounding the selection of Kenyan referees and assistant referees for the FIFA List of International Referees.

Former General Secretary of the Kenya Football Federation (KFF) Daniel Omino and former chairman of the Kenyan Referees Association Wycliffe Ogutu each received five-year bans.

Samson Kawa, the former treasurer of the Kenya Football Referees Association was banned for two years while Alfred Ndinya, the most senior listed FIFA referee from Kenya, was warned about his future conduct on account of his marginal involvement in this case.

FIFA said in a statement that allegations of irregularities surrounding the KFF's nominees for the List of International Referees surfaced in the last quarter of 2006, resulting in the suspension of the list of nominees and the launch of FIFA's investigation.

The investigation determined that the KFF had summoned an unusually large number of candidates to the annual selection process for nominees for the list and, against FIFA policy, required them to pay in order to participate.

Furthermore, FIFA said, money was also allegedly demanded from the candidates if they wanted to be included in the final list.

FIFA said some of the final nominees did not meet the technical requirements as stated in the regulations governing the registration of international referees and assistant referees.

FIFA's ruling is the latest blow for the sport in the east African country which was suspended from all international competitions from October 2006 until February last year after a series of problems in its football federation.

Kenya are not taking part in the African Nations Cup after being eliminated in the qualifying stage.