Report finds ‘compelling evidence’ of fixing in WCup friendlies

Updated 15 December 2012
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Report finds ‘compelling evidence’ of fixing in WCup friendlies

JOHANNESBURG: A FIFA report into match-fixing in the weeks before the 2010 World Cup has found “compelling evidence” that one or more friendly games involving host South Africa were fixed ahead of the world’s showpiece tournament.
The South African Football Association conceded Saturday that it had been “infiltrated” two years ago by now-convicted match-fixer Wilson Perumal and his “bogus” football company Football4U — which was actually a front for Asian betting syndicates.
No players have been implicated in fixing matches. Instead, referees appointed by Perumal’s Football4U were thought to have manipulated one or more of South Africa’s World Cup buildup games for betting markets. Perumal could have been aided by some South African officials, SAFA said.
“The full extent of the web of international crime is now exposed,” SAFA chief executive Robin Petersen said after South Africa received the report from FIFA.
SAFA didn’t immediately identify the games but South Africa’s 5-0 win over Guatemala and 2-1 win over Colombia in late May 2010 — two weeks before the World Cup kicked off — were under suspicion.
Three penalties for handball were awarded by Niger referee Ibrahim Chaibou in the South Africa-Guatemala game on May 31, with two of them clearly incorrect. Chaibou is also being sought for questioning by FIFA for his handling of other suspicious games in Africa, Asia and South America, where a high number of penalties were awarded, apparently to feed betting scams.
All three goals in the South Africa-Colombia game on May 27, which was refereed by a Kenyan official, came from penalty kicks. That match was the official opening of South Africa’s redeveloped Soccer City showpiece stadium, which hosted Spain’s victory over Netherlands in the World Cup final a little over a month later.
South Africa also beat Thailand 4-0 and drew with Bulgaria 1-1 in games to prepare for the World Cup.
“The FIFA report addresses the question as to whether one or more of the pre-World Cup friendly matches was fixed and finds compelling evidence that this was indeed the case,” SAFA said in a statement released in the early hours of Saturday and acknowledging the receipt of FIFA’s report on Friday.
SAFA said its emergency committee would continue to study the report compiled by FIFA’s former head of security, Chris Eaton, over the weekend and take legal advice before deciding on a course of action.
After allegations of fixing in the World Cup buildup, SAFA asked FIFA to take over the investigation. The world football body began looking at the matches in March this year.
While no players were thought to be involved in the fixing, SAFA would now investigate some of its own officials on the advice of the FIFA report to see if they colluded with Perumal’s Football4U agency “with criminal intent” to help appoint referees and fix matches.
“The report identifies various SAFA officials who interacted with Football4U, and recommends that ‘further examination’ of these officials should take place,” SAFA said.
SAFA had already acknowledged that it became suspicious of the match officials taking charge of some of its pre-World Cup friendlies and decided to replace Chaibou at short notice as referee for South Africa’s final warm-up game, a 1-0 win over Denmark on June 5, 2010.
Singaporean Perumal is now in jail in Finland for fixing games there, while match-fixing scandals have also hit Turkey, Italy, South Korea and South Africa’s neighbor, Zimbabwe, among others.
Zimbabwe’s national association recently banned players, coaches and its former chief executive for life for involvement in fixing games for Perumal’s betting syndicates on national team tours to Asia as far back as 2009.


Mohamed Salah named Premier League’s best player of the year at PFA awards

Updated 23 April 2018
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Mohamed Salah named Premier League’s best player of the year at PFA awards

  • Egyptian superstar currently has 30 Premier League goals this season
  • Salah beat the likes of De Bruyne and Kane to the award

LONDON: Mohamed Salah was crowned the Premier League’s Players’ Player of the Year on Sunday, with his incredible 41-goal debut season at Liverpool beating out strong competition from Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne.
“It’s a big honor. I’ve worked hard and I’m very happy to win it,” Salah said at the ceremony on Sunday evening.
Salah matched a Premier League record tally for a single season by scoring his 31st league goal of the campaign in a 2-2 draw at West Brom on Saturday.
“You’re comparing your name with some great names,” he said, on the prospect of breaking the record. “To break the Premier League record is something huge in England and all over in the world.
“There are still three games to go. I want to break this record.”
Salah has also netted seven times in eight Champions League games, including in both legs of Liverpool’s 5-1 quarter-final thrashing of City, to carry his side to a first semifinal for a decade.
De Bruyne showed why he had been many people’s early-season favorite for the prize with an incredible long-range strike for his 12th goal of the season to go with a league-high number of assists as champions City thrashed Swansea 5-0 on Sunday.
“From my point of view when you are analizing 10 months, there is no player better than him,” said City manager Pep Guardiola of the Belgian midfielder.
“Maybe there are numbers better but for me he was the best. But it is my opinion, the opinions of the players could be different. But in the end, in summer time he will be at home being champion.”
City did pick up a prize from the PFA gala in central London on Sunday, though, as Leroy Sane won the Young Player of the Year.
Sane, another City team-mate David Silva, De Bruyne, Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Tottenham striker Harry Kane were the other five nominees for the main prize.