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Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Sierra Leone suspends 15 in World Cup match-fixing probe

AFP, Wednesday 16 Jul 2014
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone National team
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Sierra Leone said on Wednesday it had suspended national football team captain Ibrahim Kargbo alongside 14 players and officials accused of match-fixing in a World Cup qualifier.

The sports ministry and Sierra Leone Football Association said the 15 are alleged to have fixed the outcome of a 0-0 draw against South Africa in the second round of regional qualifiers for the 2010 tournament.

They said in a joint statement they had received "credible and tangible information" on the alleged involvement of the group in "this unsporting and unpatriotic exercise" during the 2008 fixture.

A source close to the case told AFP on condition of anonymity the allegations surrounded a plot for Sierra Leone to throw the game and lose 5-0.

The plan was thwarted when some players refused to have any part in the conspiracy, forcing a scoreless draw, the sources said.

Three of the players had been called up to play in Saturday's African Nations Cup qualifier against Seychelles in Freetown but have been withdrawn.

Kargbo, 32, played last season in the Belgian second division but had just gone on trial with English League One side Swindon Town.

The other players named in the investigation are defender Ibrahim Koroma, midfielder Samuel Barlay and goalkeeper Christian Caulker, who all play in the Swedish lower leagues.

The suspended officials include football administrator Rodney Michael, who was disqualified from running for FA president in August last year over allegations that he had links to a sports betting company.

Three referees and Sierra Leone's director of sports, Alphan Koker, are also among the group.

The statement, signed by Sports Minister Paul Kamara and football association president Isha Johansen, said an investigating committee had been set up but did not specify how long it would take to report.

Although South Africa qualified automatically as hosts of the 2010 World Cup, they were involved in second round qualifying as the matches doubled up as qualifiers for the 2010 African Nations Cup.

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