Fifa anti-corruption officials heading to Zimbabwe

Fifa anti-corruption officials will travel to Zimbabwe next week to help wrap up a match-fixing investigation involving the country’s national team. The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) has conducted its own probe, prompted by revelations about a tour of Asia in December 2009. A number of players admitted taking money to lose matches on the trip to Thailand and Malaysia. Fifa’s visit marks the final part of the investigation. “They are going to meet people in an effort to bring this issue to finality,” Zifa vice-president Ndumiso Gumede told the Associated Press. “Appropriate action will be taken on completion of the probe.” Zimbabwe captain Method Mwanjali and a number of his international team mates made sworn statements to Zifa admitting taking money to lose matches.

Zimbabwe lost 3-0 to Thailand and 6-0 to Syria and the players said they were paid between $500 and $1,500. Mwanjali also described how a representative of the betting syndicates involved came to the team’s dressing room at halftime to give instructions on how a game should finish. Because of the ongoing investigation, Zimbabwe authorities delayed taking action against the players who admitted wrongdoing. Mwanjali – a defender with South African topflight club Mamelodi Sundowns – was allowed to continue as captain of his country and led Zimbabwe in its last international, a 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifying win over Mali on 5 June. Under Fifa rules, players and officials face fines and lifelong bans from any football activity, including entering any football stadium, in serious cases of match-fixing.

 

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