Suspected match-fixers allegedly playing in England with FA's knowledge and Gattuso cleared after Italian investigation

Weekly Media Recap 1 -7 September 2014

Published 10 September 2014

In the news this week we find the resolution of the match-fixing allegations made by Der Spiegel magazine during the recent World Cup regarding Cameroon. The magazine had claimed that convicted match-fixer Perumal had predicted the result of Cameroon’s match against Croatia because it was fixed, but FIFA has stated that they have found no evidence to support those allegations.

The English Football Association has also appeared in the headlines, after it allegedly admitted to having a ‘watch list’ of active players who may be involved in match-fixing but who cannot be prevented from playing for various reasons.

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Cameroon

FIFA said Wednesday it had received no evidence of corruption involving Cameroon as the World Cup took a breather from football ahead of the quarter-finals. A spokeswoman for the governing body said FIFA had requested all details of communications between Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine and notorious Singapore match-fixer Wilson Perumal, as well as any other material they claim to possess in order to prove their allegations. The Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) said its ethics committee was looking into Perumal’s allegations, reported by Der Spiegel, that he forecast the 4-0 victory by Croatia and that a player would be sent off. But Perumal issued a strong denial on Tuesday, saying he was “shocked and amazed” at the report of his actions, insisting he had only given an “informal assessment” of the Cameroon-Croatia game with a journalist.

Source: "No proof of match-fixing after Cameroon claims", 6 September 2014, AFP, https://sundiatapost.com/2014/09/no-proof-of-match-fixing-after-cameroon-claims-fifa/#/jobs

El Salvador

The majority of the players accused of match-fixing are aware of the crimes the Attorney General is prosecuting them for and have named the lawyers that will represent them. The court has not yet contacted the Malayan-Singaporean Gaye Alassane, nor the Nicaraguans Yaser Arauz or Armando Collado, all acting under Perumal’s Exclusive Sports company, and wanted for the crimes of money laundering and unlawful association. Exclusive Sports fixed a match between El Salvador and Costa Rica in 2010, with the Salvadorean Football Federation (FESFUT) receiving US$30,000 to cover the team’s expenses. FESFUT has stated that it only became aware of the match-fixing allegations through the investigations of the El Grafico in 2011. The prosecution has not yet accused any officials.

Source: "Exjugadores afrontan hoy audiencia por amaños", 4 September 2014, La Prensa Grafica, https://www.laprensagrafica.com/2014/09/04/exjugadores-afrontan-hoy-audiencia-por-amaos 

Italy

AC Milan legend Rino Gattuso has been cleared from an Italian match-fixing investigation. As part of the Calcioscommesse scandal, the OFI Crete coach was accused of being involved in the ‘manipulation of some of Milan’s games’ during the 2012-13 Serie A season. Gattuso has always maintained his innocence and yesterday evening was officially cleared, with Guido Salvaini telling the Cremona tribunal this week: “there is not enough evidence supporting Gennaro Gatuso’s involvement in the alteration of any Milan game.

Source: "AC Milan legend Gattuso cleared of match-fixing", 3 September 2014, Tribal Football, https://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/ac-milan-legend-gattuso-cleared-match-fixing-4038646

South Africa

Parliament has instructed Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula to seek answers urgently from FIFA as to why it was keeping the nation in the dark about its investigation into allegations of match-fixing relating to Bafana Bafana games. MPs have also called for the South African Sports Act to be amended to give Mbalula and parliament powers to summon international sporting federations like FIFA to account to the legislature on its dealings with domestic sports federations. Bafana Bafana games in 2010 against Colombia, Guatemala, Thailand and Bulgaria were all placed under investigation after it emerged that a company linked to convicted bookmaker Wilson Raj Perumal, Football4U, was contracted to appoint match officials for those games. Several top SAFA executives were implicated in the alleged fraud at the time. Fifa’s constitution does not allow government interference in its affairs. But Mbalula said there was nothing stopping MPs from engaging the body on the issue.

Source: "Match-fixing - FIFA urged to come clean", 3 September 2014, Herald Live, https://www.heraldlive.co.za/match-fixing-fifa-urged-come-clean/

United Kingdom

A former Premier League footballer has been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery as part of an ongoing investigation into the fixing of lower-league football matches in England. The National Crime Agency said in a statement that Delroy Facey, a 34-year-old striker, has been charged “on the basis that there is a realistic prospect of conviction” following his arrest in November 2013. He was to appear in court on Sept. 2. Two Asian businessmen and a lower-league player, Michael Boateng, were sentenced to jail in June for their part in an investigation that focused on matches in League Two and the Conference South, the fourth and sixth tiers of English football.

Source: "Ex-Premier League player Delroy Facey charged in match-fixing probe", 1 September 2014, Associated Press, https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/soccer/ex-premier-league-player-charged-match-fixing-probe-article-1.1923703

GOOD PRACTICE

Honduras

Players and officials of the Honduran national team have received a special talk about fair play and match-fixing. CONCACAF and UNCAF have been tasked with training players to avoid contributing to or participating in match-fixing. Honduras wish to avoid the match-fixing problems that El Salvador is going through and which have resulted in lifetime bans for some players.

Source: "Seleccionados reciben charla sobre amaño de partidos", 2 September 2014, La Prensa, https://www.laprensa.hn/inicio/743950-96/seleccionados-reciben-charla-sobre-ama%C3%B1o-de-partidos

ODDS AND ENDS

China

Former Chinese football referee Lu Jun was released from prison on Tuesday. Lu was sentenced to five and a half years imprisonment in 2010 for taking a total of 810,000 yuan (about 128,657 U.S. dollars) in bribes for fixing seven league matches involving four clubs. China's professional football leagues have been plagued with allegations of gambling, match-fixing and corruption for years. In order to clean up the game, a nationwide crackdown on gambling and match-fixing was launched by the government in 2009. Some high-level football officials and referees had been put behind bars and the involved football clubs had been punished. Once China's best-known referee, "Golden Whistle" Lu Jun had officiated in the 2002 South Korea/Japan FIFA World Cup and 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Lu served as a gardener and cleaner during his years in jail. He got a one-year sentence reduction as a result of good behavior after a public trial at the Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court. Various media sources report that Lu Jun will never again work in the sporting world.

Source: "Football Ref Imprisoned for Match-Fixing Released", 2 September 2014, Cri English, https://english.cri.cn/12394/2014/09/02/2743s842718.htm

El Salvador

Salvadorean mid-fielder Eliseo Quintanilla has asserted that he never participated in match-fixing in his national team, even though the Salvadorean Football Federation (FESFUT) suspended him for six months. He was one of the 22 players investigated by the Attorney General’s Office in El Salvador for a match-fixing scandal that hit the headlines in 2013 and which has had its most recent developments in August 2014, when the Attorney General’s Office announced the preventive detention of 11 players. He stated that in spite of being clean regarding match-fixing, damage had been done to his image and his career.

Source: "Eliseo Quintanilla: "Nunca amañé partidos"", 1 September 2014, El Tiempo Latino, https://eltiempolatino.com/news/2014/aug/31/eliseo-quintanilla-nunca-amane-partidos/

United Kingdom

A group of footballers suspected of being involved in match-fixing are allegedly playing at English clubs with the knowledge of the Football Association. Following a lengthy investigation by The Mail on Sunday into alleged fixing in the Conference South in the 2012-13 season, and into subsequent match-fixing in Australia, top officials from the FA have admitted for the first time they have a ‘watch list’ of active players ‘of interest’ who, for various reasons, they cannot prevent playing. More than a dozen alleged fixers could be playing in England, according to law enforcement and football integrity sources. The FA will not put a figure on the number. The players involved are at clubs in the lower reaches of the Football League and in non-League football, yet their CVs show that their former employers range from leading London Premier League clubs to smaller sides across the south. In some cases, players were involved in games in England where betting and other evidence indicated fixing. A criminal investigation remains possible. Others have been sought by police elsewhere on fixing-related matters but left for England before they could be questioned. Indeed, it is understood several players have been suspended but the FA will not confirm how many. Watch list players who are not suspended have effectively been put on notice that their activities are being monitored.

Source: "Scandal of match-fixing revealed: the FA's secret list of suspects and how they are still playing in England", 6 September 2014, Daily Mail, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2746254/SCANDAL-OF-MATCH-FIXING-REVEALED-The-FA-s-secret-list-suspects-playing-England.html

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's legendary goalkeeper Muzondiwa Mugadza has distanced himself from the “evil six” that allegedly agreed to take bribes from a convicted Asian match fixer for Zimbabwe to lose a Dunhill Cup match 4-0 to Bosnia Herzegovina in 1997. The six unnamed Zimbabwe B squad players agreed to share $100,000 offered by Wilson Raj Perumal if they delivered the right scoreline but one Zimbabwean player “accidentally kicked the ball into the net”. Responding to an article carried by the Bulawayo Chronicle Sport on Friday, Mugadza said he was available for questioning by Zifa officials as he had nothing to hide. He said during his time at Zimbabwe Saints he was at one time offered $50,000 (Zimbabwe dollars) to throw a game when Highlanders and Dynamos were fighting for the championship but he refused and they went on to beat Dynamos. “I go to bed with a clear conscience, every time I represented my country I did so with all my heart, Zifa must be having the match recordings which can be reviewed and any suspects fished out,” said Mugadza, one of the finest goalkeepers to emerge from the country.

Source: "Mugadza denies match-fixing", 1 September 2014, Zimdiaspora, https://www.zimdiaspora.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13866:legendary-zimbabwean-goalie-mugadza-exonerates-self-from-match- fixing&catid=38:travel-tips&Itemid=18

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