Match-fixing is a grim reality for football’s governing bodies and after first being unwisely oblivious to it, they have become fully devoted to fighting it. With rings and syndicates scattered across the world, FIFA and its ‘allies’ are starting to realize that presiding over a football game for 90 minutes is not their biggest task. Their biggest task is ensuring that no-one else is illegally presiding over the same game and altering its outcome.
Following a deep recollection of his infamous prowess, Wilson Raj Perumal may be forcing CAF to become far more concerned with the phenomenon of match fixing in Africa.
First, who is Perumal? CNN describes him as ‘The Man Who Fixed Football’.
Beginning his ‘career’ in Singapore in the 1980s, Perumal says he fixed between 80-100 games and made approximately $5 million for his troubles. Having served his third jail term, Perumal is currently helping police in Hungary deal with match-fixing problems in the Balkans.
Permual’s success rate was pegged at 70-80 percent but the sad news for CAF and African football is that Perumal’s international career of deceit and manipulation is deeply tied to Africa.
In 1997, Perumal attempted to fix his first ever international- a friendly between Zimbabwe and Bosnia Herzegovina. Perumal alleges to have struck agreements with up to six players from the Zimbabwe national team. Their pact? To lose the game 4-0. Their joint reward? $100,000.
Unfortunately for Perumal, his hands were burned as the game ended in a 2-2 draw. Perumal admits that the result they had asked of the Zimbabweans was “difficult to accomplish” but also explains that Zimbabwe only scored because “one player accidentally kicked the ball into the net.” His hands may have been burned but Perumal was always going to be back and a decade later, Perumal was hugely involved in the deeply troubling “Asiagate” scandal which allegedly saw Zimbabwe players and officials receive bribes to fix a string of matches between 2007 and 2009.
What should worry CAF though is the perceived ease with which Permual operated. With his claims of having fixed games at many international tournaments including the African Cup of Nations, Perumal says officials were easy to target and that certain football associations welcomed him with “open arms”. Perumal also says that at many times, he was on the bench and in the dugout “telling players what to do, giving orders to the coach.”
The depiction by Perumal of how easy it became to fix matches, many of which were presumably involving African teams is a horror story for CAF who clearly have their work cut-out to prevent a re-occurrence of an Asiagate scandal and its damning fall-out which very nearly resulted in a total collapse of the football structure in Zimbabwe.
While FIFA have already begun collaborating with law enforcement agencies and announced a $20 million partnership with Interpol in 2011. Despite this, Perumal says are not doing enough and that should fill Africa and CAF with trepidation. If FIFA and Interpol cannot tackle this, how much hope should CAF have? (VENTURES AFRICA)