Just as FIFA’s teflon dons thought it was safe to head back to the beach in Rio, more allegations about match-fixing have been revealed in a report by English newspaper The Daily Telegraph.
The exclusive undercover investigation released on Sunday alleged that the President of Ghana’s Football Association had agreed for the national team to play in international matches that others were prepared to rig.
The report came as part of the newspaper’s six-month investigation which claims that criminal gangs were looking to rig scores at international matches.
The unfolding scandal casts a greater cloud over the integrity of referees at the FIFA World Cup after controversial decisions over the weekend and throughout the tournament.
With some unhappy finishes to matches lately what is the average fan going to think now when a seemingly unjust call goes against their team?
On Saturday Bosnian supporters left dozens of comments on the page for our poll for worst referee and had implied match-fixing and corruption had played a role in the result.
“The EU should investigate FIFA because someone took huge amount of the money on betting for that game,” complained one fan.
“Peter O’Leary and FIFA is a mistake, the evidence that the money in this competition is worth more than a sport and fair play games … shame FIFA,” lamented another.
The overwhelming response from passionate Bosnian football fans is really not surprising since it was two highly questionable calls from a referee which eliminated their team from contention in the Round of 16. Coupled with the fact that another match-fixing bombshell had been revealed in the days leading up to the World Cup by The Telegraph and The New York Times it is no wonder why many fans feel a cloud has indeed been cast over the tournament as a whole and the very future of the beautiful game.
RedCardTheRef was flooded with more than 20,000 visitors to our site on Sunday and over 12,000 fans voted in our Worst Referee Poll.
Iranian fans who had a sure penalty called back against Argentina by referee Milorad Mazic of Serbia, and Croatian fans who couldn’t believe referee Yuichi Nishimura’s joke penalty kick decision for Brazil must also surely be wondering about the validity of decisions in these matches.
According to the story, reporters from The Telegraph and a former FIFA investigator claimed they represented an investment company that wanted to “sponsor” games.
The president of the country’s football association then met the undercover reporter and investigator, along with Mr Forsythe, a registered FIFA agent, and Mr Nketiah, a senior figure in the Ghanaian FA, and agreed a contract which would see the team play in the rigged matches, in return for payment according to the report.
The contract stated it would cost $170,000 (U.S.) for each match organized by the fixers involving the Ghanaian team, and would allow a bogus investment firm to appoint match officials, in breach of FIFA rules.
But Sunday’s big story also went further with one official claiming matches at the World Cup are indeed in jeopardy of being compromised.
“I know that the World Cup is vulnerable to these criminal gangs because they have existing networks of contacts at all levels inside the game and they will look for any vulnerability they can find to exploit,” Terry Steans, a former FIFA investigator told The Daily Telegraph.
The Telegraph reported that a meeting between the parties took place in Miami, Florida earlier in June at the same time as a match between Ghana and South Korea occurred.
The Ghanaian FA took swift action on Saturday announcing it has asked the Ghana Police Service to investigate Mr Forsythe and Mr Nketiah for “misrepresenting the GFA with an attempt to defraud”.
On Monday FIFA made an official statement stating there is no evidence of match-fixing at this year’s World Cup. Watch and listen to their response at Monday’s media conference in this video post: