Fixer denies predicting score
8:08pm Tuesday 1st July 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal has denied correctly predicting the result of the World Cup Group A match between Cameroon and Croatia.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has confirmed he has been informed of allegations surrounding the match, while the Cameroon football federation (FECARFOOT) announced its ethics committee will probe fraud claims in all three of their nation's matches.
German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Perumal correctly predicted the result - a 4-0 defeat against Croatia and that a player would be sent off in the first half - in a Facebook discussion with a journalist before the game.
Not only was the scoreline correct, but Cameroon's Barcelona midfielder Alex Song was sent off before half-time for elbowing Croatia's Mario Mandzukic.
But Perumal issued a statement on the investigative journalism website Invisible Dog, in which he claimed the conversation in question had taken place after the match had finished.
Perumal said: " Contrary to the 'revelations' published by the German weekly Der Spiegel that were picked up by news outlets worldwide, I did not predict the result of the Cameroon vs Croatia match played on June 18, 2014.
"The Facebook chat with the Der Spiegel journalist took place a few days after the match - June 21st, as confirmed by my Facebook log - and was but an informal assessment of the behaviour of the Cameroon team at the Brazil 2014 World Cup after they had played two of their three group stage matches, including the one with Croatia.
"At no time did I make reference to four goals being scored or to a red card being issued. At no time did I suggest that I had any way of corroborating or substantiating what was meant to be an educated guess based on my extensive match-fixing experience. Last but not least: at no time was I informed by the Der Spiegel journalist that our chat was going to end up in the German publication.
"I am shocked and amazed that a respected magazine such as Der Spiegel would go so far as to fabricate statements by yours truly with the visible aim of stirring the row over match-fixing. I apologize to the Cameroon FA and to its fans if I inadvertently offended them; it was not my intention. I strongly believe that Der Spiegel should also do the same since they placed words in my mouth that I did not utter."
FIFA's security department is believed to be looking into the claims, although this was neither confirmed nor denied by FIFA's head of media Delia Fischer.
Meanwhile Blatter said he was waiting for the outcome of an investigation, telling Press Association Sport in Rio de Janeiro: "Yes I have been told about this but let them do their work on this investigation."
Cameroon headed home from the World Cup after losing against Brazil and Mexico, as well as Croatia, to finish bottom of Group A.
In their own statement, FECARFOOT said: "Recent allegations of fraud around Cameroon 2014 FIFA World Cup three preliminary games, especially Cameroon vs. Croatia, as well of the 'existence of seven bad apples [in our national team]' do not reflect the values and principles promoted by our administration, in line with FIFA code of conduct and the ethics of our nation.
"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 in the shortest delays.
"In the meantime we legitimately request that any related information, unless brought before our federation and/or its ethics committee, be held for or treated as mere assumption.
"We wish to reinstate that in 55 years of existence, FECAFOOT has never been sanctioned for, involved in, or even linked to match fixing or any fraud of any kind."
In his reported conversation with Der Spiegel, Perumal wrote of Cameroon: "In this team there are seven bad apples."
Last week, FIFA's security director Ralf Mutschke said there had been no suspicious betting patterns with any match and added: "So far we have no evidence of a rigged game."
Chris Eaton, FIFA's former security chief who is now director of Qatar-based International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) said that, if it was proved that Perumal's prediction was made before the match, it would have to be treated "extremely seriously".
Eaton said: "The ICSS is aware of the allegation first reported by Der Spiegel that Wilson Raj Perumal, a well-known and convicted match fixer, apparently accurately predicted the outcome of a specific match result and foul outcome for a game at the FIFA World Cup, using a Facebook account.
"If it is confirmed that the advice from Perumal was made before the match and is accurate to the overall result and red card, then this allegation will no doubt be treated extremely seriously by football, governments and beyond."
Eaton added however that Perumal had made other predictions which had not materialised and that the regulated sport betting industry had not reported suspicious betting on the match.
He said: "I understand that he has made other 'predictions' during this competition that have not proved accurate."