By: AP & Reuters
Cameroon football federation said it will investigate allegations of match-fixing by its team at the World Cup and the possible existence of “seven bad apples” in the squad.
Fecafoot said in a statement late on Monday it had instructed its own ethics committee to open an investigation, although it added it had not yet been contacted by FIFA, the sport’’ global governing body.
Cameroon was eliminated after losing all three of its group-stage matches at the World Cup: 0-1 to Mexico, 0-4 to Croatia and 1-4 to host Brazil.
“Recent allegations of fraud around Cameroon’’ three 2014 FIFA World Cup preliminary games, especially Cameroon vs. Croatia, as well as the ‘existence of seven bad apples (in our national team)’’do not reflect the values and principles promoted by our administration in line with the FIFA Code of Conduct and the ethics of our nation,” Fecafoot said in the statement.
“We wish to inform the general public that, though not contacted by FIFA in regards to this affair, our administration has already instructed its ethics committee to further investigate these accusations.”
FIFA refused to confirm that any investigation was ongoing by its security department, which should take the lead in any probe of a World Cup match.
FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said the governing body would not comment on details “so as to not compromise any investigations.”
FIFA president Sepp Blatter, met by reporters at his hotel in Rio, said: “Yes I have been told about this but let them do their work on this investigation.”
The International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS), which works closely with FIFA and police on match-fixing and related security issues, said there were no suspicious betting patterns. “The advice we have received from the legal or so-called ‘regulated’ sport betting industry is that there was no observable suspicious betting on this match,” the ICSS said.
The match-fixing allegations stemmed from comments convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal allegedly made in a Facebook conversation with German magazine Der Spiegel before the Cameroon-Croatia match in Manaus on June 18. The magazine said Perumal, a Singaporean with ties to Asian and Eastern European gambling syndicates, had accurately predicted the result of the Croatia match and that Cameroon would have a player sent off in the first half. Cameroon midfielder Alex Song, who plays for Barcelona, was sent off before halftime for striking Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic in the back.
Perumal did not give a source for his allegations. In the chat, he also referred to there being “seven bad apples” on the Cameroon team, Der Spiegel said.
That game was the low point of a disastrous World Cup for Cameroon, which conceded nine goals and scored just one in its three games.
The Croatia match was also marred by an argument between Cameroon teammates Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Benjamin Moukandjo that ended with Assou-Ekotto head-butting his teammate. Players had earlier threatened not to travel to Brazil because of a dispute over bonus payments. Fecafoot has already launched a disciplinary investigation into the behaviour of its players in the Croatia game.
“We are strongly committed to employ all means necessary to resolve this disruptive matter,” the federation said of the investigation and the match-fixing allegations.