FIFA shoots down report of match-fixing in Croatia-Cameroon match

FIFA is calling out German newspaper Der Spiegel over the latter’s incredible claims that Croatia’s 4-0 victory over Cameroon in the group stage of the World Cup was marred by match-fixing.

Earlier this week, Der Spiegel ran a story claiming that notorious Singaporean match-fixer Raj Perumal had inside information on how the game between the two countries would be played out. According to the German daily, Perumal disclosed through a Facebook conversation with Der Spiegel that Cameroon would lose the match by the same score and would have a man sent off.

When those predictions turned out to be true, FIFA and the Cameroon Football Federation launched separate investigations to look deeper into these claims out of fear that if proven true, this episode would cast a huge cloud on a tournament that has otherwise been free of any gambling-related scandals.

As it turns out, FIFA is calling BS on the Der Spiegel’s report. Ralf Mutschke, the governing body’s director of security, released a statement saying that FIFA carefully monitored all 56 World Cup games that have been played and found no evidence of any match manipulation that directly affected a specific betting market.

For his part, Perumal has also denied ever telling Der Spiegel of the pre-ordained finish of the Croatia-Cameroon match, calling the German newspaper’s report as full of ‘fabricated statements in its attempt of stirring the row over match-fixing.’ But Der Spiegel has remained steadfast in continuing to stand by its report, further putting into muddled waters the truth of the issue.

This claim by the German daily has the potential to explode if things continue to simmer in the surface. We’ve given FIFA a lot of flak for all of its under-handed business dealings in the past but we understand the predicament the governing body has found itself in with these claims of match-fixing in the World Cup.

It’s one thing for something like this to happen at a far-flung, lower-tier domestic league but the World Cup? That’s a public relations nightmare the likes of which FIFA has never seen in its lifetime. It’s doing the prudent thing by asking Der Spiegel to provide all the details of its conversations with Perumal to get to the bottom of the issue. It’s still not known whether Der Spiegel would acquiesce to FIFA’s request, but for the sake of the tournament and all the countries that are still playing, a resolution to this issue is of paramount importance.

Hopefully, we all get to the bottom of this before it blows up and threaten to wipe out all the excitement generated by the World Cup so far.

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