Wed, Jul 02, 2014 - Page 20 News List

WORLD CUP: Cameroon’s soccer body probing World Cup rigging claims

AFP and Reuters, YAOUNDE and SALVADOR, Brazil

Cameroon soccer officials say they are determined to root out the seven “bad apples” implicated in an alleged matchfixing scandal over their FIFA World Cup Group A game against Croatia.

“Recent allegations of fraud around Cameroon’s 2014 FIFA World Cup three preliminary games, especially Cameroon versus 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’s code of conduct and the ethics of our nation,” the Cameroon Football Federation said on its Web site. “We are strongly committed to employ all means necessary to resolve this disruptive matter in the shortest delays.”

The federation added that in 55 years, they had never before been punished for “matchfixing or any fraud of any kind.”

The launching of the investigation by the federation’s Ethics Committee was spurred after convicted fraudster Wilson Raj Perumal accurately forecast the result and that a player would be sent off in a discussion with German magazine Der Spiegel.

In the game on June 19 in Manaus, Brazil, Cameroon’s Alex Song was dismissed for a bizarre elbow assault to the back of Mario Mandzukic in the 40th minute. Later in the match, leftback Benoit Assou-Ekotto aimed a headbutt at teammate Benjamin Moukandjo in an act that coach Volker Finke called unacceptable.

Soccer’s world governing body said it could not comment on an ongoing investigation.

“Speaking generally, the integrity of the game is a top priority for FIFA and as such we take any allegations of match manipulation very seriously,” it said.

Cameroon’s campaign proved to be an unmitigated disaster from start to finish as the players refused to board their plane for the finals until a problem over their bonuses was resolved.

Their one world-class player, Samuel Eto’o, barely played and aside from the Croatia thrashing, the team went down 1-0 to Mexico and 4-1 to hosts Brazil.

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