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June 23, 2014 12:50 pm
Ghana’s World Cup participation was embroiled in controversy after officials linked to the country’s football association were caught up in match-fixing allegations.
Undercover reporters posing as working for an investment company agreed a contract with a Ghana official and a registered Fifa agent to enable the national team to play in rigged friendly matches, at a cost of $170,000 per game, according to an investigation by the UK’s Daily Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme.
A meeting later took place with Kwesi Nyantakyi, president of Ghana’s football association (GFA), at which the contract was discussed.
The GFA said the police had been called in to investigate the Ghana official and Fifa agent.
“We wish to state that the GFA did not sign the contract as we waited for the response from the legal committee and that the two gentlemen did not make such corrupt offers to the GFA or its officials,” it said in a statement.
There are no suggestions of match-fixing at the World Cup, but Fifa is monitoring the final round of matches beginning on Monday, which are particularly vulnerable to manipulation.
Fifa is struggling to contain match-fixing, highlighted in a report last year from EU law enforcement agency Europol that said a network of fixers had targeted 380 matches across Europe since 2008.
There is a growing perception in the host nation that money is being wasted on the tournament to the detriment of improved public services
The South African Football Association was also targeted in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup.
Two Singapore businessmen and a former footballer were last week found guilty of attempting to rig matches in the UK.
According to the UK’s National Crime Agency, they attempted to fix a match between AFC Wimbledon and Dagenham and Redbridge in November.
They were said to have links to a Singapore-based international betting syndicate. Singapore was central to the network of fixers highlighted by Europol, which looked into matches in 13 countries.
Ghana caused one of the surprises of the tournament by drawing 2-2 with Germany on Saturday. The country has a reasonable chance of progressing beyond the first round.
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