FIFA probes Argentina’s thrashing in Nigeria
FIFA is investigating Argentina’s 4-1 loss in Nigeria on
Wednesday after betting patterns suggested it was targeted by match
It’s the highest profile match yet in a wave of suspicious
recent international friendlies, often with goals scored from
The match ”was one that we had an active interest in, and forms
part of a wider ongoing FIFA investigation,” football’s world
governing body said on Saturday.
FIFA was ”working closely” with its betting monitoring agency
Early Warning System which tracks wagers placed with more than 400
Hours before kick off in Abuja on Wednesday, FIFA President Sepp
Blatter launched his ”Zero Tolerance” campaign to stop corruption
FIFA’s 208 member nations in Zurich also passed new rules to
control the organization of international matches, including the
power to veto referee appointments.
Referee Ibrahim Chaibou of Niger awarded two penalties – one to
each side – in Wednesday’s game between two teams who played each
other at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Nigeria took a 2-0 lead with a 26th minute spot-kick after
Chaibou awarded a foul against Argentina defender Federico
Five minutes of stoppage time were announced at the end of the
match, with play continuing until the 98th minute when Argentina
scored with a penalty kick from Mauro Boselli.
Argentina fielded a below-strength lineup without star forwards
such as Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel di Maria.
However, there was no suggestion that players from either team
were involved in manipulating the match.
Nigeria Football Federation spokesman Ademola Olajire told The
Associated Press he had no knowledge of a FIFA investigation.
Chaibou is one of the most experienced FIFA-approved referees
with 15 years’ service on the international list. He was born in
1966 and must step down this year on reaching FIFA’s referee age
limit of 45.
As match-fixing investigations develop across the world, FIFA
announced last month it would pay Interpol ?20 million ($29
million) over the next 10 years to educate referees, players,
coaches and officials in how to resist corruption.
”FIFA is currently receiving lots of information and
cooperation across Europe, Asia, Africa and South and Central
America, and as an organisation we are committed to tackling this
problem in the most vigorous way possible,” the governing body