Saturday, July 5, 2014

Soccer-Cameroon promise swift resolution in match-fixing probe

  By Mark Gleeson
SALVADOR, Brazil, July 4 (Reuters) - The Cameroon Football Federation has promised a swift outcome to its investigation into allegations that seven of the country's players were involved in a World Cup match-fixing scandal after FIFA poured cold water on the claims.

FECAFOOT said on Friday it had written to German magazine Der Spiegel which reported it had interviewed a convicted match-fixer who correctly predicted the score and a sending off in Cameroon's game against Croatia at the finals in Brazil.

But Wilson Raj Perumal, who allegedly made the predictions in an interview with the German publication and said seven players were involved, has since claimed the interview took place after Croatia's 4-0 win on June 18 in Manaus.

Cameroon midfielder Alex Song was sent off before halftime for a needless elbow in the back of Croatia's Mario Mandzukic near the halfway line, leaving his side to battle with 10 men for the majority of their second Group A game.

FECAFOOT said it had instructed a committee to bring a swift conclusion to its investigation.
"The investigation is ongoing; we have already, by mail, asked the newspaper for tangible evidence of these claims, which they have maintained despite the apparent challenge of the facts by their main source," said a statement.

"We remind the national and international public we will strengthen our application of the fundamental values of our sport - integrity, fair play, respect."


The federation also accused the "international press" of tarnishing the image of Cameroon football and of the central African country. The squad attracted bad publicity before the World Cup started by going on strike for more money.

FIFA has also asked Der Spiegel to hand over all the documents it says it has regarding Perumal's claims that Cameroon players threw their group games.

Ralf Mutschke, FIFA's head of security, on Wednesday cast doubt on Perumal's claims and said soccer's world governing body wanted to see what proof Der Spiegel had.

"FIFA has substantial doubts about the allegations published by Der Spiegel," he said in a statement.
"This article has put the integrity of the FIFA World Cup matches in question which is a serious allegation.
"We have carefully monitored all 56 games to date and we will continue to monitor the remaining eight matches. So far we have found no indication of any manipulation on the betting market of any World Cup matches."

The International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS), which works closely with FIFA and police on match-fixing and related security issues, supported FIFA's assertion by saying on Tuesday there were no suspicious betting patterns at the tournament. (Editing by Ken Ferris)

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