Five for 22 September

El Salvador ban 14

El Salvador have banned 14 international footballers for life for match-fixing, including some of their best-known and most experienced players.
 
One other player was given an 18-month ban, two were suspended for six months, one was acquitted while four more face further investigation, the country's football federation (FESFUT) president Carlos Mendez told a news conference on Friday.
 
"The work of the disciplinary commission has been exhaustive. We have used valuable information which has come from interviews, video accounts from people who have had the strength to declare and help us find those responsible," said Mendez.
 
The 14 given life bans were goalkeepers Dagoberto Portillo and Miguel Montes, defenders Ramon Flores, Miguel Granadino, Luis Anaya, Mardoqueo Henriquez, Alfredo Pacheco, Marvin Gonzalez and Reynaldo Hernandez and midfielders Osael Romero, Darwin Bonilla, Dennis Alas, Ramon Sanchez and Christian Castillo.
 
Pacheco, Romero, Gonzalez, Alas and Sanchez have more than 50 caps apiece.
 
Carlos Romero was banned for 18 months, Eliseo Quintanilla and Victor Turcios for six each and Carlos Carillo was acquitted.
 
Rodolfo Zelaya, Emerson Umana, Rodrigo Martinez, Benji Villalobos will face further investigation, FESFUT said.
 
All 22 players had been provisionally suspended since August.
 
"The national teams will continue with their agenda," added Mendez. "The players pass by and the institutions are permanent."
 
Mendez said the matches affected included a 5-0 defeat by Mexico at the 2011 Gold Cup.
 
Central America is especially vulnerable to match-fixing as many clubs struggle financially, playing conditions are poor and footballers often do not get paid on time.
 
Last year Guatemalan internationals Guillermo Ramirez, Gustavo Cabrera and Yony Flores were banned for life by their country's federation for trying to persuade team mates to manipulate a friendly against Costa Rica.
 
The case was brought to light by the then national team coach Ever Almeida and striker Carlos Ruiz.
 
Nicaragua defender Armando Collado was also banned for life over a friendly against Guatemala played in 2010.

Red card

Fans going to Sunday's match between Colon and San Lorenzo in Santa Fe will be guinea pigs for a cutting-edge biometrics system aimed at combating hooliganism that has been blamed for 70 deaths in the last decade.
 
The Argentine Football Association's (AFA) ambitious new system, known as "AFA-Plus", has been a year in the making and is designed to drastically reduce football-related violence by prohibiting known hooligans from entering stadiums and will also reduce ticket touting and fake ticket sales.
 
Anyone wishing to enter a first division stadium, from fans to technical staff to police, will first need to register in one of the club's assigned offices.
 
Once registered, they will be given a magnetic identity card that contains their personal information, a photo and digital finger prints.
 
AFA spokesman Ernesto Cherquis Bialo said the measures were meant to weed out violent offenders.
 
"The objective is to kick out the violent people. We want to get rid of the business of the barrabravas," said Cherquis, using the local term for football hooligans.
 
"We want there to be better revenue for the clubs, we want families to go back to football games and, more than anything, we want order in football and not fear," he told Reuters.
 
Fans have been lining up to register ahead of the implementation of the new security measures expected to be rolled out later this season.
 

FANS SCEPTICAL
 
Most said they understood the importance of the extra security measures, but voiced doubts the system will keep out those it is designed to bar from entering the clubs.
 
"It's good on the one hand, but on the other, not so much. Because for me, the barrabravas who are the main problem for safety at football games, I think they're still going to get in," fan Facundo Salomon told Reuters.
 
Fellow supporter Raul Luoni echoed the sentiment when he said: "The main problem is the (football) directors who know who shouldn't get in (to games), but they get in all the same and I don't think they will ever fix that."
 
Cherquis said rolling the system out at the Colon-San Lorenzo match will give the AFA a chance to learn how the system works and time to iron out all the kinks before going live.
 
"We're going to hear all the grievances there, all the delays. Someone is going to say to the referee, 'delay the game because there are a ton of people outside'. Any of this could happen, but also with this example we can better implement the system," he said.
 
The AFA is investing 300 million Argentine pesos ($52.09 million) in the new security measures, which will require, among other things, turnstiles, card scanners and non-transferable membership cards.
 
There have been 269 hooligan-related deaths in Argentine football since 1924. ($1 = 5.7595 Argentine pesos)


Platini admits politics played a partin Qatar

To some it will be a statement of the obvious, to others an admission that should ring alarm bells. Responding to the assertion of the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, that the Qatar 2022 World Cup was a "political" choice by European voters, the Uefa president, Michel Platini, has confirmed that "political and economic influences" were a factor.

The controversial selection of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup in December 2010 has resulted in a bitter row over whether the tournament should be moved to winter to avoid the searing summer heat, a move expected to be agreed in principle by Fifa next month.

Blatter, who voted for the US to host the 2022 tournament but has since become an advocate of moving it to winter, said in an interview this week that there was "definitely direct political influence" on European executive committee members to vote for Qatar.

"European leaders recommended to its voting members to opt for Qatar, because of major economic interests in the country," he told the German weekly Die Zeit.

Following a meeting of all 54 Uefa member associations in Dubrovnik, at which they confirmed in principle their support for a winter World Cup in 2022, Platini confirmed Blatter's comments. "With the extraordinary influence Mr Blatter has," Platini said, "he has only all of a sudden realised there are political and economic influences when we decide who will host an Olympic Games and so forth? It's better late than never I guess."

Platini sardonically added: "It's new, apparently. It was said that Europeans voted for Qatar but Qatar got 14 votes. We're only eight. If you subtract eight from 14 you get six left over."

Platini has admitted voting for Qatar and lobbying for the move to winter, but has insisted that a much scrutinised meeting with the then French president Nicolas Sarkozy, the now Emir of Qatar and the Qatar prime minister did not result in pressure being put on him. "I knew Sarkozy wanted the people from Qatar to buy PSG," Platini told the Guardian in May. "I understood that Sarkozy supported the candidature of Qatar. But he never asked me, or to vote for Russia [for the 2018 World Cup]. He knows my personality. I always vote for what is good for football. Not for myself, not for France."
 Michel Platini, the Uefa president, said Qatar receievd 14 votes for the 2022 World Cup but only eight came from Europe. Photograph: Str/AFP/Getty Images
Rumours of corruption continue to swirl around the bidding process for the 2022 World Cup and the ethics committee chair, Michael Garcia, is continuing to investigate what became a convoluted and chaotic process that was scarred by allegations of vote swapping and bribery.

As far as the scheduling is concerned, attention is now likely to turn to when the tournament will be held – Fifa would prefer to hold it in December 2022 to avoid the Winter Olympics but Uefa would prefer January and February to avoid a clash with the lucrative Champions League group stages.

"There are only two things I have clearly in mind. The first is that the president of Fifa will talk about 2022 at the next Fifa ExCo meeting," Platini said. "Apart from that the European national associations have unanimously stated that in principle we aren't against playing in winter. We haven't said we agree fully, we've said we agree in principle. Now, the ball is in the court of the president of Fifa."

Platini also confirmed that 32 countries – including England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland – had expressed an interest in hosting matches during the 2020 European Championship. Once Turkey pulled out of the race to host the tournament, Platini conceived a plan to play the matches across 13 different countries. Final bid dossiers are due by April 2014, with a decision a year later. Countries can bid to host either four group stage matches, or the semi-finals and final, or both.

Some believe that the Fifa presidential election, due in 2015, is having a bearing on the negotiations over the 2022 World Cup. Platini, long tipped as a possible successor to Blatter, said he would not reveal his hand until during or after the 2014 World Cup. Blatter, who had said this would be his final term, is increasingly expected to stand again in 2015.

"The members, I know what some would like them have me do. I know what my friends would have me do. I know some journalists would like me to do certain things. I will take the decision when I take the decision," said Platini.

"I told them I would take my decision during or after the World Cup. This isn't something that keeps me awake at night. I'm happy with Uefa, I feel very much at home here and I'm seeing how things develop slowly. There's a lot of time."

Match fixing in England

Asian match-fixing gangs have ‘probably’ already infiltrated English football, according to the world’s leading authority on fixing, Chris Eaton.

He believes evidence from the emerging corruption  scandal in Australia, which has already seen four British players charged  with eight counts each of engaging in or facilitating corrupt betting while playing for Melbourne-based Southern Stars in the second-tier Victoria Premier League, points to that shocking conclusion.
 
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that two further English players, who are now back in England after playing in Australia, are wanted by the authorities for questioning.
 
Eaton is a former high-ranking police officer who worked for Interpol and as FIFA’s security adviser. He also helped to bust the alleged £1.2m fixing ring Down Under.
 
Britons Joe Woolley, 23, a goalkeeper, as well as defenders Reiss Noel, 24, and David Obaze, 23, and midfielder Nick McKoy, 27, were all bailed on Friday until December on charges of fixing as part of a crime syndicate based in Asia and with links to Europe.
 
The players deny the charges and say they are now in fear of the alleged fixing ringleader, a 45-year-old Malaysian called Segaran ‘Gerry’ Gsubramaniam. Australian police believe he is linked to a convicted international match-fixer, Wilson Raj  Perumal, a Singaporean who has spent time living in London.
 
It is understood that the authorities in Australia are preparing to make formal requests for both men to be extradited. The Mail on Sunday has tried to contact them via their London addresses without  success.

All six British players spent at least part of the 2012-13 season playing football in the Conference South in England, three of them with AFC Hornchurch and three with  Eastbourne Borough.
 
All 22 teams in the Conference South were contacted by the Football Association in March after suspicious betting patterns were reported.

There was no formal FA investigation following ‘intelligence’ passed on by ‘early warning’ specialists, and no action was taken beyond ‘reminding’ the clubs of their responsibilities.
 
Former AFC Hornchurch players Joe Woolley (L) and Reiss Noel each face eight charges - four counts of engaging in, and four counts of facilitating, conduct that corrupts a betting outcome
 
In a warning that should sound alarm bells throughout the game, Eaton says that football authorities everywhere, England included, have failed in their duty to investigate and stamp out fixing. ‘There are clear connections between what’s happened in Australia and groups in England,’he said.

 The English players were recruited via a common acquaintance, Zia Younan, a 36-year-old Czech-born Australian coach who faces 10 corruption charges. Younan in turn is linked to Gsubramaniam.
 
‘One has to assume from what we know that Perumal is involved,’ said Eaton. ‘The connections are troubling. Southern Stars have allowed players to arrive and the club promptly loses nearly all their matches.’
 
Eaton praises the Victoria police for their ‘difficult and meticulous work’ but says far too few forces or FAs take any meaningful action on fixing.‘It’s a problem in all of football, governing bodies wanting a silver-bullet remedy to this destructive phenomenon, but without any effort,’ he said.
 
‘You cannot eradicate fixing, which is a major international problem, without hard work. Football doesn’t want to do the work.’

The FA have limited resources and their intelligence on suspicious Conference games stretched only to unusual betting patterns. Eaton says the Australian police used electronic surveillance and wire- tapping to gather their evidence.

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