Ex-Argentina ref to explain claims to parliament

Ex-Argentina ref to explain claims to parliament

Published May. 18, 2011 6:10 p.m. ET

A former referee in Argentina who says corruption in domestic football is widespread will be called to explain the claims to a parliamentary commission.

Javier Ruiz, a referee until 2010, told Argentine newspaper Libre in interviews published on Tuesday and Wednesday that clubs pay to fix championships and promotion spots and acknowledged he also took bribes to affect matches.

Carlos Comi, head of a parliamentary sports commission, said Ruiz will be asked to repeat the claims in front of politicians. The date of the hearing has yet to be decided.

''If what Ruiz says is true, there is a fantastic web of corruption,'' Comi said. ''In other countries, many people have gone to jail for these things. This man is saying very strong things.''


Ruiz told Libre that Boca Juniors' title win in 2008 and the promotion to the topflight by San Martin de Tucuman in 2008 and Chacarita Juniors in 2009 were examples of the corruption.

None of the clubs or individuals implicated have responded to the claims.

Ruiz also said River Plate's current relegation problems were caused by former directors promising to pay referees and not delivering.

''Why do you think River is fighting the drop?'' he told Libre. ''If you don't pay (the referees) they are capable of stopping you pass the halfway line.''

The 43-year-old former referee, who claimed he left the job voluntarily, challenged the people he accused to sue him.

Guillermo Marconi, head of Argentina's referees' union, told the C5N news channel that an investigation should be opened.

''The situation should not be disregarded,'' Marconi said. ''Just as there are corrupt doctors, lawyers, accountants, public figures and journalists, there are also referees.''