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Fifa calls urgent meeting

Zurich: Fifa has called an emergency meeting of its executive committee ahead of the World Cup draw in South Africa to deal with incidents in the playoffs and match-fixing allegations in Europe.

Fifa said Monday the meeting would take place Dec. 2, two days before the draw in Cape Town.

Fifa’s statement did not reveal the incidents. However, there were several examples of fan violence before and after Algeria’s victory over Egypt in an African playoff, plus Thierry Henry’s hand ball that led to France advancing at Ireland’s expense.

The committee will also discuss match-fixing and betting scams being investigated in Germany and parts of central and eastern Europe.

“Due to recent events in the world of football, namely incidents at the playoffs for the 2010 World Cup, match control (refereeing) and irregularities in the football betting market, the Fifa president has called an extraordinary meeting of the executive committee,” said Fifa in a statement.

Angry soccer fans rampaged through a posh diplomatic neighbourhood in Cairo over the weekend, smashing shop windows and shouting obscenities after Egyptians were infuriated by media reports alleging their fans were brutalised by their Algerian rivals after Algeria won a playoff match Wednesday in Khartoum, Sudan, to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

While the two teams play each other periodically, the stakes for this match were much higher, same as in France’s playoff against Ireland in Paris.

As for the latest match-fixing scandal to rock European football, German authorities have set up a task force to deal with the findings of the investigation of 200 games in nine European countries.

German football chief Theo Zwanziger, speaking at a news conference on Monday in Frankfurt, said football had to work closely with state prosecutors because they were dealing with organised crime.

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