Come clean, says Eaton

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Fifa head of security Chris Eaton said players, officials and football administrators implicated in the match-fixing scandal, the Asiagate, could receive lighter punishment if they came clean.

Eaton, who was accompanied by Fifa investigations officer Terry Stean, told reporters at the conclusion of his visit on Monday night, the world football governing body would take any confessions into consideration when deciding on the length of bans for those found guilty of match-fixing.

“Given the way we are now seeing the involvement of the police and the Anti-corruption Commission, Fifa and the internationalisation of this investigation it’s time for people who have been implicated to come forward.

“There will be a certain period of time when telling the truth will be helpful to them and their possible rehabilitation into football,” he said.

Eaton, an Australian detective who stepped down as Interpol’s director of operations to become Fifa’s new head of security last year, however clarified this would not be some form of pardon.
“It is not an amnesty as such,” he said.

“The amnesty will be a proposal we will make in a world context next year.

“For this particular situation I will encourage any official, player or administrator who has information that will help us to come now while they still can and they will be of great assistance to what may or may not happen to them,” he said.

Eaton said he would investigate all aspects of 162-page report on match-fixing compiled by Zifa.

“I will investigate every part of that report as it refers to Fifa or any other federation outside Zimbabwe. I’m satisfied that Zimbabwe has addressed allegations that they have found themselves in an extensive way.

“Anything in the report that has implications for Fifa will be investigated by me and reported back to Fifa. We need to get to the bottom of this and make sure that it never happens again. Football has to survive the attack on its credibility,” he said.

Those implicated in the Asiagate scandal will know of their fate by end of year when a specially commissioned Ethics Committee completes its duty.

The committee could be named later this week after more than a week’s delay. According to evidence gathered by the Zifa investigating committee chaired by the association’s first vice-president Ndumiso Gumede, gambling syndicate representatives paid amounts totaling $50 000 for each of 15 matches that were fixed from 2007 to 2009 in Asia.

Convicted Singaporean betting agent Wilson Raj Perumal is fingered as the man who organised most of the matches that Zimbabwe took part in, in Asia from 2007, including the Monomotapa trip to Malaysia where they masqueraded as the national team.

Perumal is believed to be a central figure in a swathe of betting scandals that have rocked world football with 24 countries worldwide believed to be in ongoing match-fixing investigations.

“Perumal corrupted football, not only in Zimbabwe, but also across all continents,” Eaton said.

“Zimbabwe football has taken a very great dip, but we expect to see it return to where it belongs.”

Zifa board member finance Elliot Kasu, a member of the investigating committee said the national body only had power to impose disciplinary action against implicated players and officials, but that police and anti-corruption officials were handling possible criminal charges outlined in the report.

“The path we are following is zero tolerance. Everyone has to answer for the wrongs and we are making that clear to all stakeholders and sponsors,” Kasu said.

“As we say in Zimbabwe, if you want visitors to your house you must clean your house first.”