x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Fifa stepped in on suspicious game in Sharjah

Fifa claimed that it broke up a scheme to rig a friendly game between Jordan and Kuwait that was played on March 26 in Sharjah.

 

Fifa claimed yesterday that it broke up a scheme to rig a friendly game between Jordan and Kuwait that was played on March 26 in Sharjah.

Tipped off on alleged plans to manipulate the match, Fifa sent investigators to the stadium, and they reported that the game bore all the hallmarks of suspicious matches in Turkey and elsewhere - local referees were replaced by foreigners and the match ended in a 1-1 draw with both goals coming from penalties.

According to Fifa's early warning system of betting monitoring, online gambling sites were abuzz with action from the match. That prompted Fifa investigators to reveal their presence to organisers at half time.

The match in Sharjah was part of a tournament that also included Iraq and North Korea.

A UAE company, Perfect Line, set up the tournament with a Singapore-based company called Exclusive. Mohammed Hozain, a Perfect Line official based in Kuwait, said Exclusive cancelled the contract about 45 days before the tournament.

Hozain said he then went to the Kuwait federation to revive the tournament, adding that his company was only responsible for logistics and not choosing the teams or the referees.

No one from the Kuwait federation could be reached for comment. But the Jordanians said they had questions once they arrived for their match.

"We talked to the UAE federation about taking the referees from UAE," said Osama Talal, the national team manager.

"Suddenly we see some referees from Africa standing next to the UAE referees. I told the company we prefer to give a chance for UAE referees because we know them. The company told us they brought referees from very far away and they are now in the stadium so they will take the match so we said `OK.' The match went normally.