Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal has claimed that he played a part in the qualification of five of the 32 teams that took part in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, South Africa. Perumal made the claims in an interview with Al Jazeera in a programme entitled ‘Killing the Ball’, broadcast on 19 February as part of its ‘People and Power’ documentary series.
Perumal (pictured) also claimed to have fixed a football match at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games; arranged a 2007 tour for the Zimbabwe national team where they would be paid $50,000 per match plus expenses, if they “danced to my tune”. He also claimed to have fixed matches at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games; the 2007 Women’s World Cup; 2008 African Cup of Nations; the Asian Football Confederation’s AFC Cup in 2007; CONCACAF’s Gold Cup in 2009; and qualifying games for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.
In the programme, Perumal explains how he attempted to arrange Nigeria’s qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in a deal with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF). Perumal said that he offered to arrange qualification in exchange for receipt of an official mandate for his company, Football 4 U International, to organise pre-World Cup fixtures for the national team. Perumal had already explained that Football 4 U International had been set up in 2009 to fix international friendly games for illegal bookmakers.
Perumal said that four Kenyan players had agreed to take part in fixing the penultimate 14 November 2009 game against Nigeria in order to ensure Nigeria’s qualification. He also alleges he sent a letter to the Mozambique football association (FMF) offering to pay $100,000 if the national team won or drew its game against Tunisia. Both Nigeria and Mozambique needed to win in order to ensure Nigeria’s qualification.
In the event, both teams did win, however the Kenyan players were not paid as Perumal said that illegal bookmakers had required a two-goal margin Nigerian victory (they won 3-2). However in April 2010, Football 4 U International did receive an official mandate from the NFF to organise other international friendlies for the national team.
When contacted by the programme makers, FMF denied ever having received Perumal’s letter, and the NFF denied any involvement or knowledge that Perumal was a match-fixer. FIFA also declined to be interviewed by the programme makers.
Perumal is currently in Budapest, where he has been extradited as a witness as part of a match-fixing trial into a criminal network based in Sinagpore that allegedly fixed football matches over a ten-year period. The ongoing trial, which began in January last year, names Tan Seet Eng – also known as Dan Tan – as the main ‘in absentia’ defendant of 12 charged with being involved in fixing games.
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