Cameroon to investigate World Cup match-fixing claims
The Cameroon football association said Monday it will investigate claims that its players were involved in match-fixing during the country’s World Cup campaign, which saw the side lose all three group games, conceding nine goals and scoring just one.
The Fédération Camerounaise de Football (FECAFOOT) said it had instructed its ethics committee to probe allegations of what it described as "fraud" involving seven players in their three games in Brazil, particularly a 4-0 loss to Croatia in Manaus in their second Group A game.
"Recent allegations of fraud around Cameroon's three 2014 World Cup games, especially Cameroon v Croatia, as well the existence of ‘seven bad apples (in our national team)’ do not reflect the values and principles promoted by our administration," FECAFOOT said in a statement.
"We wish to inform the general public that, though not yet contacted by FIFA in regards to this affair, our administration has already instructed its Ethics Committee to further investigate these accusations.
"We are strongly committed to employ all means necessary to resolve this disruptive matter with the shortest delay," FECAFOOT's interim president Joseph Owona said.
The allegations against Cameroon came from convicted Singaporean match fixer Wilson Raj Perumal, who had accurately forecast the result of the Croatia game and the fact a player would be sent off, in a discussion with German magazine Der Spiegel.
Cameroon midfielder Alex Song was sent off before halftime for a needless elbow in the back of Croatia's Mario Mandzukic near the halfway line, leaving his side to battle with 10 men for the majority of the game.
Alex Song's red card foul on Croatia's Mario Mandzukic
The game was also marred by an incident near the end when Benoit Assou-Ekotto attempted to head-butt team mate Benjamin Moukandjo.
After the match the national football federation derided the players’ behavior as’ “disgraceful”.
The match was a low-point in a World Cup campaign that also saw the team, nicknamed the “The Indomitable Lions”, lose 1-0 to Mexico and 4-1 to Brazil to finish bottom of Group A and be knocked out of the competition at the first hurdle.
Their World Cup had already gotten off to a bad start when players refused to board their chartered plane to Brazil until a dispute over bonuses was resolved.
FECAFOOT said it had to take out a “private loan” to meet player demands and resolve the dispute, but the squad's journey to the World Cup had already been delayed for nearly a day.
Following the side’s elimination from the tournament, the country’s President Paul Biya called for an official investigation into the team’s disappointing performance.
He has given his prime minister one month to submit a report on Cameroon’s “inglorious campaign”, state media said.
The report is expected to include steps for “a profound and deep restructuring of Cameroonian football,” said a statement from Biya’s office.
Local media also derided the national team. The tabloid newspaper La Meteo ran a front-page headline of “All Guilty” underneath photos of sports minister Adoum Garoua, coach Volker Finke and captain Samuel Eto’o.
Cameroon was not the only African side to have their World Cup campaign dogged by controversy.
Both Ghana and Nigeria, now out of the tournament, were embroiled in disputes over money in Brazil.
Ghana had two players sent home: Sulley Muntari for hitting an official and Kevin-Prince Boateng for allegedly swearing at the coach.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP)
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