News Africa

Wednesday 17 September 2014

'Match fixing deal' casts a cloud over World Cup

Claire Newell and Holly Watt

Published 23/06/2014 | 02:30

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The Ghana football team is currently competing in the World Cup finals in Brazil, and on Saturday pulled off a 2-2 draw against Germany, in what was seen as one of the most entertaining games of the tournament so far.
The Ghana football team is currently competing in the World Cup finals in Brazil, and on Saturday pulled off a 2-2 draw against Germany, in what was seen as one of the most entertaining games of the tournament so far.
Innocent Ghana players mark a World Cup goal
An aerial view of the Maracana stadium is seen during sunset in Rio
An aerial view of the Maracana stadium is seen during sunset in Rio

TOP Ghana football officials have been exposed as agreeing to take part in international football matches organised by match fixers.

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An investigation by 'The Daily Telegraph' newspaper and Channel Four's 'Dispatches' programme (to be shown tonight) in Britain found that the president of Ghana's FA agreed for the team to play in international matches others were prepared to rig.

The team is competing in the World Cup finals in Brazil, and on Saturday pulled off a 2-2 draw against Germany.

But it can be revealed that the African team had been lined up to play in international fixtures whose results would be fixed by corrupted officials.

Premier League stars were due to play in matches which will not now take place. Ghana's stars include the ex-Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien and former Tottenham Hotspur player Kevin-Prince Boateng, although there is no suggestion that either, or any other player, is involved in match-fixing.

The newspaper and 'Dispatches' launched a six-month probe after receiving information that some football associations were working with criminal gangs looking to rig scores.

'Telegraph' reporters and a former FIFA investigator claimed they represented an investment company that wanted to "sponsor" games.

Christopher Forsythe, a registered FIFA agent, along with Obed Nketiah, a senior figure in the Ghanaian FA, boasted that they could employ corrupt officials to rig Ghana matches.

The Ghana FA president then met the undercover reporter and investigator, along with Mr Forsythe and Mr Nketiah, and agreed a contract where the team would play in rigged matches, in return for payment.

The contract stated that it would cost $170,000 (€120,000) for each match organised by the fixers involving the Ghanaian team, and would allow a bogus investment firm to appoint match officials, in breach of Fifa rules.

"You (the company) will always have to come to us and say how you want it to go... the result," said Mr Forsythe. "That's why we will get the officials that we have greased their palms, so they will do it. If we bring in our own officials to do the match... You're making your money. You have to give them (the referees) something.They are going to do a lot of work for you, so you have to give them something," said Mr Nketiah, who is chief executive of Ghanaian club Berekum Chelsea.

Corrupt

Mr Forsythe said that match fixing was "everywhere" in football and that he could even arrange rigged matches between Ghana and British teams. "The referees can change the matches. Even in England it does happen," he said.

After the meeting in London, the representative of the investment firm asked if his company could be sure the approach would work. Mr Forsythe replied: "We will choose associations/countries that we think we can corrupt their officials for all our matches."

Mr Forsythe and Mr Nketiah then introduced the undercover reporters to Kwesi Nyantakyi, the president of the Ghana FA, in Miami earlier this month.

At that meeting, the president agreed to a contract that each match would cost the investment company $170,000 and that they could appoint the match officials for each game.

A contract specified that: 'The Company will appoint and pay for the cost of the referees/ match officials in consultation with an agreed FIFA Member association(s),' in direct breach of the rules that prohibit third parties from appointing officials, protect their impartiality. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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