FIFA chief Blatter says impossible to stop cheats

Updated 08 February 2013
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FIFA chief Blatter says impossible to stop cheats

NOUAKCHOTT: The head of world soccer governing body FIFA said yesterday that cheats would always exist in the sport and it would be impossible to stop them, after revelations of a global match-fixing scandal this week.
European police revealed on Monday that about 680 suspicious matches, including qualifiers for the World Cup and European championship and the Champions League, had been identified in a match-fixing inquiry.
“We are in a game and in a game there are always cheats. The cheats will never be stopped,” Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president, told a news conference in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
Blatter is on a four-nation tour of Africa before Sunday’s African Nations Cup final in South Africa.
He said the allegation of match-fixing and manipulation of soccer results were not new.
“We know that there are games that are manipulated and we also know that it is very, very difficult to get the organizations (behind them) and especially the cheats,” Blatter said in French.
“This is a serious danger. If games are rigged, there is no more interest in watching football,” he said.
However, Blatter added that most of the matches cited in the European investigation had already been uncovered and some of the cases were in court.
The allegation is the latest in a series of corruption scandals that have wracked the world soccer body.
FIFA said on Wednesday it had launched a web page to enable individuals to make anonymous reports of corruption by officials and attempts at match-fixing.
But Blatter said even FIFA’s “early warning system” was far from effective in curbing the problem and there was no legislation to punish the people behind the scams that are threatening the global game.
“There is virtually no legislation that allows countries to condemn these people, because some of this is done electronically using computers,” he said.

 


Heartbreak for Mohamed Salah and Egypt as Russia all but secure last-16 spot

Updated 54 min 52 sec ago
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Heartbreak for Mohamed Salah and Egypt as Russia all but secure last-16 spot

ST. PETERSBURG: Russia scored three goals in a 15-minute span early in the second half to set up a 3-1 win over Egypt on Tuesday, moving the host nation to the brink of the World Cup’s knockout stage.
Mohamed Salah won and converted a penalty for a consolation goal on his return from injury but Egypt’s first World Cup in 28 years could be over in barely five days following a second straight loss.
Ahmed Fathi poked the ball into his own net — the fifth own-goal of the tournament — to put Russia ahead in the 47th minute. Then Denis Cheryshev and Artyom Dzyuba scored in quick succession to leave Russia on course for a victory that followed up a 5-0 opening-night win over Saudi Arabia.
It was Cheryshev’s third goal of the World Cup, putting him tied with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scoring chart.
Russia’s place in the round of 16 will be assured if Uruguay wins or draws against the Saudis on Wednesday. Those two scenarios would also eliminate Egypt, which started with a 1-0 loss to Uruguay.
The hopes of 100 million Egyptians were raised when Salah was selected in the starting lineup, the Liverpool forward making his comeback after 3 1/2 weeks out with damaged ligaments in his left shoulder after a tangle with Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos in the Champions League final.
Salah trotted out for his pre-match warmup to roars from Egypt fans, who at times appeared to outnumber their Russian counterparts. They shouted every time Salah’s face flashed up on the big screen and when his name was announced before kickoff.
Yet from the start, it was clear that Salah was staying out of anything too physical and there was no concerted effort from his Egypt teammates to pick him out each time. He didn’t touch the ball until the seventh minute.
He did win the penalty — confirmed by the video assistant referee after Salah was pulled down by Roman Zobnin. He converted it in the 73rd minute, but it wasn’t enough. Egypt is still without a victory in six World Cup matches.
Russia is nearly assured of advancing from the group stage for the first time since the Soviet era.
Cheryshev, who entered the World Cup as a fringe player, is proving lethal in front of goal, with his latest a side-footed effort from close range from Mario Fernandes’ cross in the 59th. Dzyuba’s goal was more direct, the striker chesting down a long ball from defender Ilya Kutepov, beating his marker and curling home a low finish.