Fifa release Asiagate mail

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World football governing body Fifa have released some e-mails written by convicted match-fixer and suspect in Zimbabwe’s Asiagate scandal, Wilson Raj Perumal, to various associations organising the matches now under investigation.

This is the first time Fifa have released part of the e-mails, but refused to say which football associations they were addressed to and whom they were communicating with, according to reports.

In one e-mail, Perumal told an official: “Please ensure a friendly is arranged and let’s get down to business . . . your economy is down and money is crucial. I will pay you $100 000 to ensure all goes well.”

The report further said he wrote to another association: “I have some youth tournaments coming up. I will send invitations to you and once you are here we will sort out the rest.

These games are exhibition matches and please don’t make my life difficult by saying you want to win and so on. Trust me there is good money to be made.”

“This is a match-fixer telling a football administrator what to do,” Fifa security director Chris Eaton told reporters. “This is all very cynical and despicable stuff.”

Perumal, a Singapore national sentenced for two years in 2011 over a match-fixing case in Finland, told another official in an e-mail: “We want two goals in each half and you can get one goal after conceding the fourth goal. Reward will be
$100 000. You will have to take your cut from this sum.”

Perumal was jailed last year while nine players — seven Zambians and a Georgian — were given suspended sentences for trying to fix matches in Finland.

In that case he paid players up to €20 000 ($28 290) per match and received up to €50 000, in addition to some of the betting profits, each time the results of Finnish top-flight team Rovaniemi were fixed.

Eaton and his investigator Terry Steans visited Zimbabwe last year and took with them a computer from the Zifa office to aid their investigations.

The pair has met former Zifa chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya and player agent Kudzi Shaba who were mentioned in the two Asiagate reports produced by the national association last year, but both were apparently not interviewed by Zifa.

Zifa has suspended three officials — vice-president Kenny Marange, board member development Methembe Ndlovu and Northern Region chairman Solomon Mugavazi — for their alleged involvement in the scandal that started in 2009.

Cosmas Nyoni, one of the referees who officiated in some of the games in Asia, has been caught up in a match-fixing scam in the Central Region Division One League which has resulted in the suspension of regional chairman Patrick Hokonya and Southern Region boss Gift Banda.

Hokonya has since written to Fifa seeking assistance while Banda, who has a criminal defamation case against Nyoni in court, also expected to follow the same route after Zifa failed to have them appear before a disciplinary committee after the regulatory 14 days.

Marange, Ndlovu and Mugavazi are expected to appear before an ethics committee chaired by Justice Ahmed Ebrahim.

Zifa president Cuthbert Dube yesterday told NewsDay Sport he would meet the ethics committee before the association’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) slated for January 28.

“I should be able to meet them before going to the EGM,” he said, avoiding a direct question on the e-mails.

Meanwhile, Russia is to introduce a new law before parliament which would for the first time allow criminal prosecution for match-fixing in football in the country, officials said yesterday.

A proposal from Federal Audit Chamber chairman Sergei Stepashin received the strong support of the country’s government and the new amendments to the state law about physical culture could be introduced before the end of 2012.

Russia’s Sports minister Vitaly Mutko said the lower house of the country’s parliament, the State Duma, had already created a group to prepare the new amendments.

“We hope the amendments will be ready for the Duma’s consideration in the first half of this year,” Mutko was quoted as saying.

“After that, we are set to pass a new law about football before setting up the question about criminal liability for match-fixing. We will also take into consideration the international practice in this sphere.”

“I believe the new law will be intact before the end of 2012,” Mutko said in conclusion.

Anzor Kavazashvili, the head of the Russian Football Union experts committee, which was established to tackle match-fixing in Russian football, said he was happy with a new legislative initiative.

“It’s a very timely initiative,” Kavazashvili said. “The new law will become a serious weapon against match-fixing as the existing laws give us few chances to start legal action against cheaters in our football.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has declared war on corruption in the country, while match-fixing is the main factor of corruption in football.

There has never been a proven instance of match-fixing in Russia, however, a set of unusual scorelines in the country’s football championship has on occasion raised suspicions among observers, officials and football experts.

Zimbabwe has one player in the league, Musa Mguni, who plays for Terek Grozny while Parliament has had Asiagate tabled in the august House.