Sat, Dec 10, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Gold Cup match-fixing possible: official

Reuters, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND

FIFA’s head of security believes games at this year’s US-based CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament were “manipulated” and that irregular betting patterns raised suspicions at world soccer’s governing body, a report said.

FIFA security chief Chris Eaton told Sports Illustrated’s Web site SI.com on Thursday that they have worked together with CONCACAF to investigate games at June’s tournament.

“There has been information that some matches in the Gold Cup were manipulated,” Eaton was quoted as saying.

“We worked with CONCACAF at the time and CONCACAF have been very interested in following up any information that can be revealed in the future on that,” he added.

Eaton said the investigation had not produced confirmation of match-fixing, but he cited irregular betting patterns during the 12-team tournament.

The competition featured some high-scoring games involving some of the weaker teams in the CONCACAF region which covers North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

CONCACAF was not immediately available for comment.

The first suggestions that there might have been something amiss during the Gold Cup came before the final was played in June.

Media reports in Germany said three games were under suspicion following reports of unusual betting activity in Asia.

Speaking to reporters before the June 25 final, CONCACAF general-secretary Chuck Blazer said it had tracked the games that had allegedly been at risk.

“Early on we were aware of comments made by a party in Europe, who believed that certain games were potentially targets in this competition,” Blazer said.

“We tracked those [games], we found that there were no significant anomalies and when we analyzed the games overall, found that they were pretty consistent with both history, as far as the results, and we didn’t find any unusual patterns,” he said. “There was nothing that was out of sync with what reasonable expectations would have been. We had no reason to find that there was anything of greater concern.”

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