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Match fixing: Inside account of serial master fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal

*How Africa is so easy to fix matches

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. So it seems. We have proofs of how Fifa officials pretend to be fighting match fixing but are actually circumventing the fight to protect their friends and affiliates.

Perumal's agent with thwo national team players who struck the match fixing deal in 2009
Perumal’s agent with two national team players who struck the match fixing deal in 2009

However, with match fixing rings and syndicates scattered across the world, FIFA and its ‘allies’ understand 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 final outcome from outside the confines where it is played.

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 match fixing ‘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 as a result of fixing matches, Perumal has helped police in Hungary deal with match-fixing problems in the Balkans.

Some matches won by these players are not outcomes of their skills but fixed
Some matches won by these players are not outcomes of their skills but fixed

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 which involved Nigeria.

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 Zimbabwean 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.

Communication between Prince Odira NFF's agent and Wilson Raj Perumal...who was Odira working with in the NFF?
Communication between Prince Odira NFF’s agent and Wilson Raj Perumal…who was Odira working with in the NFF?

What should have worried CAF though is the perceived ease with which Permual operates. 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 claimed they 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 that should fill Africa and CAF with trepidation. If FIFA and Interpol cannot tackle this, how much hope should CAF have?

CAF is handicapped with the quality of information at the disposal of www.gongnews.net whence some corrupt Fifa officials are known to have developed the media of side stepping the fight to save their African affiliates who records (written and oral) show are deeply involved in the scandal of match fixing.

Tomorrow: I have been fixing matches for Nigeria since 1996. Letters and faces of his ‘partners’ in the Nigerian FA.

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