Cameroon accused of fixing all its World Cup games
The World Cup was at the centre of an extraordinary match-fixing storm last night after a formal investigation was launched into allegations that Cameroon rigged all of its games at this summer's tournament in Brazil.
Cameroon's football federation announced it was probing claims the African nation deliberately lost their Group A fixtures against Mexico, Croatia and Brazil in what – if true – would be the biggest such scandal to rock football.
The Cameroon federation began its inquiry into the nature of the team's exit from the tournament following accusations from the world's most notorious match-fixer.
In a Facebook exchange with a German journalist, convicted fraudster Wilson Raj Perumal warned there were "seven rotten apples" in the Cameroon team who "fixed all three matches" in Brazil.
Those comments were published in the magazine 'Der Spiegel', which also claimed Perumal had correctly predicted the scoreline of Cameroon's 4-0 defeat to Croatia and the sending-off of one of their players.
That aspect of the story was at the centre of a growing row last night after Mr Perumal angrily denied discussing the fixture with journalist Rafael Buschmann in advance of it being played.
In a statement, accompanied by screen grabs of the Facebook exchanges he said were in dispute, Mr Perumal also admitted he had no evidence to support his assertion that Cameroon's matches had been rigged.
The man who claims in his autobiography, 'Kelong Kings', to have helped two countries qualify for the 2010 World Cup by fixing their games – and to have attempted to rig Premier League matches – wrote: "The Facebook chat with the 'Der Spiegel' journalist took place a few days after the match – June 21, as confirmed by my Facebook log – and was an informal assessment of the behaviour of the Cameroon team at the World Cup after they had played two of their three group stage matches.
"At no time did I make reference to four goals being scored or to a red card being issued. At no time did I suggest that I had any way of corroborating or substantiating what was meant to be an educated guess based on my extensive match-fixing experience.
"Last but not least: at no time was I informed by the Der Spiegel journalist that our chat was going to end up in the German publication."
In a statement last night, Mr Buschmann said: "We firmly stand by our assertion, that Mr Perumal wrote in a Facebook chat with Der Spiegel some hours before the World Cup match Croatia vs Cameroon that the result of the match will be a 4-0 victory for Croatia and that a player of Cameroon will get a red card in the first half."
The journalist did to respond to requests for evidence, in contrast to Mr Perumal, whose screen grabs indicated the relevant exchange with Mr Buschmann began on June 21, three days after the Cameroon-Croatia match.
He posted (sic): "Camerron is on the take I think. they deliberately loose. they have i guess 7 rotten apples in the team."
In another exchange last Thursday, he added (sic): "In my opinion they fixed all 3 matches. they are around 5 to 7 black sheeesshheps." He also posted that he did not know for sure whether the games had been rigged.
It is not impossible that Perumal deleted earlier exchanges but he denied this.
In the Cameroon-Croatia game former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song was sent off before half-time for elbowing Mario Mandzukic. A source close to the Barcelona player said yesterday: "Alex Song has no knowledge whatsoever of any incident involving match-fixing."
Fifa refused to confirm whether it was investigating the matter. The claims came just days after links between Ghana's Football Association and alleged fixers were exposed. (© Daily Telegraph, London)