2 jailed in Burundi for allowing players tackle president during football match Updated for 2021

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Updated: February 28, 2021


Two government officials have been jailed in Burundi for allowing players tackle the President during a football match.

Why it matters: The rules are clear. No one is allowed to tackle the President when he is in possession of the ball, and a distance of at least three meters is to be observed. The President should also score at least one goal or be behind a decisive action during the match. A referee was said to have warned the players: “If you do not allow the President to score, you will play until tomorrow” as the match does not come to an end until the President scores or performs a decisive action.

However, on February 3, President Pierre Nkurunziza’s team played in the northern town of Kiremba and players disregarded the rules, tackling the President and even allowing him to fall down.

The team in Kiremba had some Congolese refugees who did not know the rules, reports said. They attacked the President each time he had the ball, making him fall down several times.

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As a result, Kiremba’s administrator Cyriaque Nkezabahizi and his assistant Michel Mutama, were jailed. AFP quoted sources as saying that the government officials were arrested on charges of “conspiracy against the president”.

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