Argentina and Nigeria to meet again
Argentina and Nigeria, the two international teams at the centre of a match-fixing investigation by FIFA, are to meet each other again in Bangladesh in September.
FIFA are investigating heavy betting on a late goal being scored in the match, which Nigeria won 4-1 with an under-strength Argentina side scoring from a dubious penalty in the eighth minute of injury-time.
The two teams also have an agreement to play each other in Dhaka on September 6, but organisers of that game insist they have no connection with the match in Abuja last week – and that Argentina are contracted to bring a full-strength side including Lionel Messi to the game.
The Bangladesh game has been organised by Indian-based firm Celebrity Management Group, who have also set up a match between Argentina and Venezuela in Kolkata on September 2.
Bhaswar Goswami, Celebrity Management Group’s executive director, told Press Association Sport: "We are looking to raise about $5million dollars from the game against Venezuela and around $4million from the match against Nigeria in Dhaka.
"The full-strength Argentina team will come, including Lionel Messi. We have a contract which mentions all the names.”
Goswami said he was concerned about the news that FIFA are to investigate last week’s match.
He added: "We had nothing to do with last week’s match, we only operate in Asia, but we heard about the news earlier this week.
"It’s very worrying and these things should not have happened but of course we have no control over it – FIFA is looking into it and can take action.
"We are organising these matches in association with the local federations.
"The referees for our matches are being arranged by the Indian football federation and I hope they will use officials from the Asian Football Confederation.”
In last week’s game, a huge number of bets were suddenly placed in the last five minutes of normal time for another goal to be scored.
The home side were winning 4-0 and referee Ibrahim Chaibou, from Niger, awarded a handball against Nigeria in the eighth minute of injury time.
Chaibou was also the official at another match under investigation by FIFA – a friendly between Bahrain and a ‘fake’ Togo side last September.
Musa Amadu, the secretary general of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) said they had specifically requested Chaibou for the Abuja match.
He said: "Chaibou is a respected referee in Africa and has officiated in many international matches, and we always try and use referees from adjoining countries.
"We had no concerns over his history, and if there was anything to suggest that he was not honest and competent to officiate in the game we would not have appointed him.
"This is an unwanted issue because this was our best result in international football."