‘I Rigged Nigeria Match to Help them Qualify for 2010 World Cup’, Claims Match-Fixer
There is pressure on Nigeria Sports Authorities to speak up over claims from Mr Wilson Raj Perumal who has admitted part in fixing syndicate and has spilled the beans on meeting with officials over deal to help Nigeria qualify.
The Singaporean match-fixer has claimed he helped two international sides qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
A UK newspaper reports that Wilson Raj Perumal, a self-confessed match-fixer who was part of a syndicate that has been placed at the heart of a sophisticated network responsible for fixing hundreds of matches around the world, has claimed in a new book that he assisted Honduras and Nigeria in reaching the World Cup through his activities.
The Guardian said Perumal had already admitted to being part of a syndicate that fixed a string of international friendlies by bribing corrupt officials and compromised players, but this is the first time that he has claimed to have influenced World Cup qualifiers.
Perumal was arrested in Helsinki in 2011 and sentenced to two years in prison. He agreed to co-operate with the authorities and implicated his fellow Singaporean Dan Tan, alleged to be at the heart of the fixing and gambling ring that placed bets on illicit Chinese markets.
Last year Europol alleged that more than 380 professional matches in Europe and more than 300 matches played in Africa, Asia and central and South America were under suspicion as the scale of the activities of match-fixing gangs from eastern Europe and Asia became clear.
Perumal’s book, written in conjunction with the investigative journalists Alessandro Righi and Emanuele Piano, details the huge sums of money he won and lost – up to €3m in a single night – and the huge reach of the match-fixing syndicate.
He claims that in 2009 he set up a company called Football4U as a front to influence football players and officials. He claims he used an associate called Bee Hoon to “make things happen” and ensure Honduras won a match to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa.
Although he never placed a bet on the match, because Bee Hoon wagered $200,000 of his own money and brought the odds down, he says his influence helped ensure a win for Honduras, who remained unaware of his intervention.
He then details a meeting with a football official in which he promises to help Nigeria qualify for the World Cup in return for free rein in organising three warm-up matches and a cut of the money Fifa provides for hosting a training camp during the tournament. First, he claims to influence three players on his payroll to help Nigeria to victory in one of their qualifiers. Then he claims to have promised the Mozambique FA a $100,000 bonus if they were able to hold Tunisia to a draw and so stop Tunisia leapfrogging Nigeria and seizing automatic qualification. Mozambique secured an unlikely 1-0 victory.
“My plan had worked and I was the unsung hero of Nigeria’s qualification to the final rounds of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa,” writes Perumal. “Ferrying Nigeria and Honduras to the World Cup was a personal achievement. ‘Fuck,’ I considered. ‘I got two teams to qualify for the World Cup but I cannot tell anyone.'”
He also claims to have attempted unsuccessfully to bribe referees at the World Cup itself. Perumal, who served a year of his sentence in Finland after promising to co-operate with the authorities, claims to have had a hand in or profited from fixed matches all over the globe, from Latin America to Serie A.
They included two occasions on which he is alleged to have arranged for bogus African teams to play official friendlies and deliver the required result.
Perumal, who spent time living in the shadow of Wembley Stadium in 2010, also claims to have come up with the idea of bribing stadium electricians in England to kill the floodlights during the second half of a game if the score was advantageous.
Asian bookmakers paid out according to the score at the time the match was abandoned, as long as the second half had kicked off. Perumal claims the scheme was “sold” for $1m to a Malaysian timber merchant via a Malaysian betting syndicate, who then targeted matches in England.
Perumal also alleges that during a trip to England in 1995 he tried unsuccessfully to bribe two Premier League goalkeepers. Perumal was rearrested last week in Finland on an international arrest warrant. The arrest is believed to relate to an earlier conviction in Singapore, rather than to match-fixing.
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