KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING: El Salvador’s football federation has suspended 22 international players for 30 days pending the outcome of an investigation into matchfixing.
One of the matches under focus is a CONCACAF Gold Cup tie against Mexico in 2011 while suspicions have also arisen concerning El Salvador matches at the FIFA World U-20 Youth Cup in Turkey this summer.
The scandal has erupted after reports that players had been approached on behalf of one of more international betting rings.
Federation president Carlos Mendez said the ban applies to club as well as national team games. Two of the players are with foreign clubs and discussions had been initiated with FIFA over their playing status.
Mendez said at least four important matches were under scrutiny and the federation and attorney-general’s office considered sufficient evidence had been uncovered to order the suspensions.
The most high-profile game was El Salvador’s 5-0 thrashing by Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2011. This was their opening Group A game in Arlington, Dallas, Texas.
All the goals came in the second half with Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, now of Manchester United, scoring a hat-trick. Hernandez’s third goal was a penalty awarded by Surinam referee Enrico Wijngaarde in the fifth minute of stoppage time after he had been bundled over by defender Marvin Gonzalez, now with Santa Tecla.
Gonzalez is among eight suspended players from that game along with goalkeeper Miguel Montes, defenders Luis Anaya, Dennis Alas, Victor Turcios and Reynaldo Hernandez, midfielder Eliseo Quintanilla plus forward Rodolfo Zelaya.
There is no suggestion that the Mexican players were aware of anything suspect.
The other banned El Salvador internationals are William Osael Romero, Ramon Sanchez, Christian Castillo, Miguel Grenadian, Dagoberto Portillo, Carlos Romeo Monteagudo, Alfredo Pacheco Mordecai Henriquez, Carlos Carrillo, Darwin Bonilla, Rodrigo Alejandro Martinez, Ramon Flores, Benji Villalobos and Emerson Umana.
Gonzalez (83 caps), Alas (81), Romero (78) and Sanchez (77) are anong the most experienced internationals in El Salvador’s history.
The three other suspect games were friendlies. Two were in 2010: United States v El Salvador (2-1) and DC United v El Salvador (1-0). The other game was last year, a 4-1 friendly defeat in Paraguay.
Mendez added: “We are not saying the suspended players are guilty. [They have] the guaranteed right to a hearing so they can make their arguments and any rebuttals.”
He added that the allegations varied between players suspected of acting as go-betweens, players who took money, players who did not play but tried to persuade team-mates to throw matches and players who knew about the situation and did not report it.
Mendez said “attempts” had also been made to “influence results” of the El Salvador team at the FIFA World U-20 Youth Cup in Turkey between June 21 and July 13.
Ek Salvador lost their opening match 3-0 to Turkey in Trabzon, beat Australia 2-1 in Rize but were eliminated after losing their last game 3-0 to Colombia in Gaziantep and finished third in the table.
The suspensions do not affect El Salvador’s World Cup qualifying hopes: they were eliminated from the CONCACAF section after the third round.
FIFA has said it is requesting a full report from the El Salvador federation for consideration by the disciplinary committee.
The full list
The suspended players are: Luis Anaya, William Osael Romero, Ramon Sanchez, Christian Castillo, Eliseo Quintanilla, Miguel Grenadian, Miguel Montes, Dagoberto Portillo, Rodolfo Zelaya, Victor Turcios, Carlos Romeo Monteagudo, Dennis Alas, Alfredo Pacheco Mordecai Henriquez, Marvin Gonzalez, Carlos Carrillo, Darwin Bonilla, Rodrigo Alejandro Martinez, Reynaldo Hernandez, Ramon Flores, Benji Villalobos and Emerson Umana.