ZURICH: Football’s fight to beat matchfixing maintained its momentum as FIFA confirmed worldwide bans on more than 70 individuals found guilty of matchfixing in Italy and South Korea just as the Asian confederation announced an inquiry into at least two dozen individuals suspected of results-rigging in Lebanon.
The action came just two days after FIFA announced 58 Chinese officials and players would also have their match-fixing bans extended worldwide.
The world federation’s latest action ratified 70 punishments imposed by the Italian federation (FIGC), including 11 lifetime ones, for either a “direct involvement or omission to report match-fixing, illegal betting or corrupt organisation (association to commit illicit acts)”.
The FIGC informed FIFA that in the course of three different proceedings during 2012, a number of 106 players and officials had been charged with match fixing (direct involvement or omission to report match fixing), illegal betting or corrupt organisation (association to commit illicit acts).
Some of the players and officials were sanctioned in several different proceedings and received several different sanctions. In total, a number of 123 sanctions, ranging from one-month suspensions to life bans, were imposed.
Once all domestic processes were complete, the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, decided to extend those domestic suspensions and bans that have not yet expired and/or have not been annulled on appeal.
This has resulted in the extension worldwide of 76 sanctions, of which 11 are life bans. In the case of two players of foreign nationality (from Sierra Leone and Cameroon), the two respective national associations are being notified of FIFA’s decisions.
On January 15 the FIGC informed FIFA that a fourth proceeding had been concluded, this time initially regarding 11 players and officials. The relevant decisions were then submitted on February 20 to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, which subsequently resulted in the extension of six sanctions imposed on further players and officials. The other five sanctions have already elapsed or have been annulled on appeal.
As for South Korea, the KFA had informed FIFA at the end of December that four players had been sanctioned with life bans on any football related activity in December 2011 and last August.
In one of the cases, the player had the possibility of having the ban lifted after a probation period of 2 years and community service of 200 hours. These decisions were extended by the KFA to have nationwide effect last April and September.
The relevant decisions were submitted earlier this month to FIFA and led to the latest sanction extensions on the four players.
The sanctions imposed on the players in the Korea Republic follow on from punishments extended on 10 individuals last June and 41 players whose sanctions were extended only last month.
FIFA has been keen to be seen to be cracking down on corruption since European anti-crime agency Europol announced on February 4 that around 680 matches were suspected of being fixed in a global betting scam run from Singapore.
Asian soccer was hit by another match-fixing scandal on Wednesday, with the Asian FootballConfederation investigating a report from Lebanon where 24 players have been sanctioned following allegations that international and regional games were rigged.
The Lebanese Football Federation announced the punishments, including lifetime bans for Malaysian-based defender Ramez Dayoub and Indonesian-based forward Mahmoud El-Ali, which centre on international fixtures and AFC Cup matches, the second tier regional club tournament.
The AFC is considering a report wit a view to launching its own inquiry.
A two-month investigation involving over 60 witnesses was led by the general secretary of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), Fadi Zreiqat, who said the players had the right to appeal the decision.
Dayoub, who along with Ali was fined $15,000, denied the allegations and said he would fight to clear his name.
“I am not guilty. They have suspended me and accused me of matchfixing without any evidence or proof,” Dayoub told FOX Sports. “This is a serious allegation and I have no doubt there’s something behind this.
“If I really am guilty of matchfixing, FIFA will investigate and suspend me, not the Lebanese FA.”
Lebanon still hold out faint hopes of qualifying for the first time for the World Cup finals.
Dayoub, who joined Malaysian team Selangor last year from Myanmar side Magway FC, last played a World Cup qualifier in June when Lebanon lost 3-0 in South Korea.
El-Ali played for Lebanon in the WAFF Championship in December but hit side failed to advance to the knockout stages.
Another two domestic players, Al-Negma’s Mohammad Jaafar and Al Ahed’s Hadi Sahmarani, were banned for three seasons and handed $7,000 fines for their involvement.
Another 10 of Sahmarani’s team mates at the Lebanese Premier League club were banned for a year and each given $2,000 fines. The club were knocked out in the group stage of the 2012 AFC Cup. Zreiqat said some players had confessed.
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