FIFA hands life ban to referee who match-fixed for sexual favours

Lebanese official Ali Sabbagh is forbidden from all football-related activities and prohibited from entering any stadium in the world.

Image: John Walton/EMPICS Sport

FIFA HAS EXTENDED to a global level sanctions imposed by the Asian Football Confederation on three Lebanese match officials who were part of a sex-for-fixing scandal.

FIFA said that it had banned referee Ali Sabbagh from all football-related activities for life, as well as forbidding him entering any stadium in the world.

Linesmen Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb were handed down ten-year football and stadium bans for their role in the case, which involved accepting free sex from a gambling syndicate in return for pledging to fix a game.

The scandal was exposed before they were able to referee an April 2013 match between Singapore’s Tampines Rovers and Indian club East Bengal in Asia’s second-tier international club competition — the equivalent of the Europa League.

Sabbagh, who had been a FIFA-accredited referee since 2008, and the two linesmen last year received jail sentences of several months from a court in Singapore over the scandal.

FIFA also said that they had extended the geographical reach of national-level sanctions imposed by three associations on match-fixers: Slovakia, England and El Salvador.

Slovak players Marian Dirnbach, Ivan Hodur and Tomas Huber were banned for between 14 and 25 years for fixing several matches in the country’s top flight this season, while Michal Dan, who lost an appeal, was barred for 18 months.

FIFA widened the sanctions on Hakeem Adelakun and Michael Boateng, both of southern English lower-league club Whitehawk FC, banned after being charged with conspiracy to defraud bookmakers.

And they suspended two El Salvador players — whose names they did not reveal — over match manipulation at an international friendly.

That decision followed global lifetime bans imposed by FIFA on 14 El Salvador players last October over match-fixing in friendlies, cup games in Caribbean and Central America’s federation, and games of the senior squad and Under-20s side.

- © AFP, 2014

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