Fixing allegations raised over 2010 World Cup match
Nigeria v Greece was under investigation, claims former Fifa corruption expert
Tuesday 07 August 2012
Fifa's former head of security, Chris Eaton, last night claimed the world governing body has investigated the 2010 World Cup match between Nigeria and Greece for suspected match-fixing.
Greece came from behind to defeat their African opponents 2-1 in Bloemfontein – a comeback which was facilitated by the dismissal of Nigeria's Sani Kaita after 33 minutes. Kaita kicked out at Vasilis Torosidis after both players had briefly tangled as they tried to win the ball.
Speaking to Channel 4 News, Eaton said the match has been under active investigation, as was a national federation – and that Fifa's anti-corruption unit has also been contacted by a footballer playing in the Championship expressing concerns over corruption.
In the past, Fifa has confirmed that friendlies and tournament qualifiers have come under suspicion, but has so far denied that any matches in the World Cup finals have been tainted.
Worryingly, Eaton, who is now the International Centre for Sport Security's director of sport integrity, claims that the corruption is embedded in the global game and that referees and other officials are targeted.
"A referee approached a member of the Fifa investigation team and told him that he is the only person with any honesty and integrity in the room," said Eaton.
"How many officials? It may not be thousands but it would certainly be hundreds. We have a number of clubs and federations who are actively under investigation today to see the extent to which criminal infiltration has taken a hold of their decision- making processes."
Eaton revealed that a player from the Championship had come forward with allegations of corruption, and that these were being investigated when he left Fifa.
The Football League told the programme: "We always treat any allegations of behaviour that could undermine the integrity of our matches with the utmost seriousness. However, we are not aware of any ongoing investigations by Fifa into allegations of this kind."
Eaton's words came on the day Uefa revealed it is investigating possible match-fixing in last month's Europa League qualifier between Norwegian side Aalesunds and Albania's KF Tirana. Aalesunds won the second qualifying round second-leg tie 5-0 on 26 July to go through 6-1 on aggregate.
"Corruption cannot be solved at a national level," argued Eaton. "This is across borders and it is not just contained in regions like Europe or regions like Asia, it needs a global response."
In spite of Eaton's comments, Fifa denies it is conducting match-fixing investigations relating to any of the matches in the tournament in South Africa two years ago.
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