Match-fixing in football: How high does it go?

FREQUENT and vicious fouling in the World Cup has provoked ire, especially the bite Uruguay’s Luis Suárez planted on Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini and the knee in the back with which Colombia’s Juan Zúñiga felled Brazil’s star, Neymar. But worse than such seeming desire to win at any cost is a willingness to lose for a price. That is what Der Spiegel, a German news magazine, alleges was in evidence on June 18th, when Cameroon lost to Croatia 4-0. Its reporter, Rafael Buschmann, says Wilson Raj Perumal, a convicted match-fixer, told him the final score before kick-off and that a player would be sent off in the first half; one of Cameroon’s players was shown the red card for elbowing an opponent, unprovoked, just before half-time.Mr Perumal has since denied the details. He acknowledges chatting with Mr Buschmann on Facebook, but says it was after the match and that he simply opined that Cameroon’s team had “seven bad apples” and had thrown all its games. FIFA, football’s global governing body, has expressed “serious doubts” about the claims. It says its Early Warning System, which monitors betting for signs of suspicious activity, showed nothing untoward, and has asked Der Spiegel for evidence. The magazine stands by its story.If the allegations are substantiated, Cameroon v Croatia would become the first World Cup game known to…

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