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SBD Global/June 24, 2014/World CupPrint All
Ghana "has been exposed as agreeing to take part in international football matches organised by match fixers," according to Newell, Watt, Bryant & Walton of the London TELEGRAPH. An undercover investigation by the Telegraph and Channel 4’s "Dispatches" program found that Ghana FA President Kwesi Nyantakyi "agreed for the team to play in international matches that others were prepared to rig." The Ghana FA "has called for police to investigate two men over the allegations." The GFA said in a statement, "We will seek strong sanctions if such claims are found to be true." The team is currently competing in the World Cup. On Saturday, Ghana pulled off a 2-2 draw against Germany. The Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches "launched a six-month investigation into match-fixing after receiving information that some football associations were working with criminal gangs looking to rig scores in international games." Reporters from the Telegraph and a former FIFA investigator claimed that they "represented an investment company that wanted to 'sponsor' games." Registered FIFA agent Christopher Forsythe and Ghana FA senior member Obed Nketiah "boasted that they could employ corrupt officials who would rig matches played by Ghana." The president of the country’s football association "agreed a contract which would see the team play in the rigged matches, in return for payment." The contract stated that it would cost $170,000 for each match organized by the fixers involving the Ghanaian team, and "would allow a bogus investment firm to appoint match officials, in breach of Fifa rules" (TELEGRAPH, 6/22).
CAUGHT ON TAPE: In a separate piece by Watt, the Telegraph released video of Nyantakyi "meeting reporters and investigators" from the Telegraph and Channel 4's Dispatches at a five-star hotel in Miami. During the "covertly recorded encounter" at the St. Regis Bal Harbour hotel at the beginning of June, Nyantakyi said the sports investment group should have an “experimental period” before the Ghana FA "agreed that all their friendly matches should be organised by Diamond." FIFA said Ghana had reported the matter and it was “evaluating the matter.” The World Cup organizers said they took “allegations of match manipulation very seriously” (TELEGRAPH, 6/23).
GHANA DENIAL: REUTERS' Mark Gleeson reported the Ghana FA "denied British media reports." Nyantakyi said the reports were "a representation of half-truths and half-lies." Nyantakyi: "It's not true that we have agreed with match fixers or people who intend to organize matches of convenience between the Black Stars and any opponent in the future" (REUTERS, 6/23). The BBC reported Nyantakyi "is to sue" the Telegraph over the story. Nyantakyi said that he "has sent a seven-page response" to both parties and is also considering taking legal action against the Channel 4 show. None of the claims "involve matches at the World Cup" (BBC, 6/23).
The FA "has withdrawn its bid" to host the 2019 Women’s World Cup "rather than risk another humiliation at the hands of Fifa," according to Matt Dickinson of the LONDON TIMES. Relations with FIFA are "so strained" that the FA thinks that its campaign "would be doomed to defeat." England "had been one of five countries to submit preliminary bids," along with France, South Korea, New Zealand and South Africa. The FA has established a Women’s Super League and "was keen to host a World Cup for the first time." However, "it reluctantly accepts that it has too many powerful enemies" at FIFA -- notably President Sepp Blatter -- "to have any hope of winning." In the present environment, Blatter "would certainly take against any English bid for a Fifa tournament." FA Chair Greg Dyke "took a public stand against Blatter just before the World Cup in Brazil, joining the chorus of calls for the Fifa president to resign and describing his accusation that the British media is racist as 'offensive'" (LONDON TIMES, 6/23). The BBC reported the decision "has been prompted by a belief that France are strong favourites to win the bid." Another member of the FA board, David Gill, "also backed calls" at the meeting for Blatter to reconsider his intention to stand for re-election. Speaking after the meeting, Blatter reflected that he felt "insulted" by the comments that were made to him (BBC, 6/23).
Thailand’s military leaders "are cracking down on illegal gambling" during the World Cup as part of a campaign to clean up the country and restore its image, according to Amy Sawitta Lefevre of REUTERS. The national police force said on Monday that "it had arrested 1,677 people involved in World Cup betting from June 9 to 21 and shut down 675 illegal gambling websites." Deputy police spokesperson Anucha Romyanan said, “Thais are quite addicted to gambling and the World Cup is a period when gambling spikes." Apart from horse racing and the national lottery, "most forms of gambling are illegal in Thailand, including casinos and Internet wagering." But gambling "remains a popular national pastime." Many Thais cross the border to play in Cambodian casinos, "while others bet illegally on sports such as ‘Muay Thai,' or Thai boxing." Thais "are expected to spend" around 45B baht ($1.4B) on World Cup betting (REUTERS, 6/23). The AFP reported Singapore police on Monday said that "they have arrested 15 people in a crackdown on illegal betting during intense World Cup fever in the city-state, which has become notorious for football linked crime." The suspects, 14 men and one woman aged between 23 and 70, "were detained in raids on Saturday" (AFP, 6/23).
FIFA has "withdrawn an ad that was being shown at media centers at Brazil's 12 World Cup stadiums." The ad featured former FIFA exec committee member Franz Beckenbauer, who has been banned for 90 days for failing to aid an ongoing investigation into corruption allegations. The ad, titled "10 things you didn't know about FIFA," also featured Pelé, former Portuguese footballer Luis Figo, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque and Neymar (DPA, 6/23). ... Japanese music software company Nippon Columbia Co. on Monday unveiled new business cards with the name "Nippon VS Colombia Co." to be used only two days to support Japan in its upcoming World Cup match against Colombia (KYODO, 6/23). ... English punters, "normally among the most patriotic of supporters for the national team even in miserable times, have decided this latest team of no-hopers really do have no hope, causing many to put their money on Costa Rica to beat England on Tuesday." Ladbrokes "is reporting a marked shift in support for the tiny Central American republic in England’s final group encounter on Tuesday, and now stands to make a loss if Costa Rica wins" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/23). ... A Brazilian court on Friday ordered FIFA "to introduce mandatory breaks for players in World Cup matches played in high temperatures." A labor court in the capital of Brasilia "issued a temporary injunction saying the breaks are required near the 30th minute of each half so players can get hydrated." The breaks "are now mandatory" when temperatures reach 32 degrees Celsius (89.6F) in the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature index, which takes into account factors such as time of day, cloud cover, wind, humidity and location (AP, 6/20).