FIFA stays silent on Cameroon match-fixing claims

RIO DE JANEIRO, (Reuters) – FIFA remained silent yesterday regarding allegations that Cameroon players played a part in fixing the results of their World Cup group matches.

FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer would not confirm or deny that soccer’s world ruling body was investigating the claims, adding that even if it was, it would not reveal that information. FIFA president Sepp Blatter, met by reporters at his hotel in Rio, said: “Yes I have been told about this but let them do their work on this investigation.” Fischer reiterated that FIFA would not be commenting at this stage in line with its usual policy.

“As we have said consistently – prior to the FIFA World Cup and now during it – we do not provide any comments as to whether or not an investigation is underway with regard to any alleged manipulation in any match, amongst others so as not to compromise any possible investigations,” she said. The Cameroon FA said on Monday that it was to investigate claims of match-fixing in their Group A games, especially the match against Croatia. Joseph Owona, president of the Cameroon FA’s Normalisation Committee, said its ethics committee had been instructed to investigate the claims.

lost all three Group A matches, including a 4-0 defeat by Croatia.There were claims that huge bets on the result were placed in Asia before the match and that a Cameroon player would be sent off during the first half. Midfielder Alex Song was shown a red card before halftime. The International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS), which works closely with FIFA and police on match-fixing and related security issues, said there were no suspicious betting patterns. “The advice we have received from the legal or so-called ‘regulated’ sport betting industry is that there was no observable suspicious betting on this match,” the ICSS said.

VERY SERIOUS

However, Chris Eaton, the ICSS director of sport integrity, said that his organisation was still taking the allegations very seriously.

“The ICSS is aware of the allegation first reported by Der Spiegel that Wilson Raj Perumal, a well-known and convicted match-fixer, apparently accurately predicted the outcome of a specific match result and foul outcome for a game at the FIFA World Cup, using a Facebook account,” Eaton said.

“If it is confirmed that the advice from Perumal was made before the match and is accurate to the overall result and red card, then this allegation will no doubt be treated extremely seriously by football, governments and beyond.” Eaton said it was his understanding that Perumal had made other predictions during the tournament which had not proved accurate.

“The Cameroon match-fixing case is a grave allegation with an alleged and strong indication of pre-match knowledge from a well-known match-fixer,” he said.

“Therefore, in my view, this case should command a swift, strong and, most importantly, an international and co-ordinated investigation to clear the air in the interest of football and all concerned.”

Fischer, meanwhile, quoted FIFA articles 88 and 36 to justify the ruling body’s silence on the matter.

“Speaking generally, the integrity of the game is a top priority for FIFA and as such we take any allegations of match manipulation very seriously,” she said.

“FIFA continues to work closely with law enforcement agencies as well as the respective public authorities and other sports organisations on a national, regional and global level to tackle the issue of match manipulation,” she said.

“We encourage anyone with information about any suspicious matches to contact relevant authorities such as through FIFA’s integrity hotline or e-mail address and confidential reporting system.”

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