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Furious Fifa in search of proof

Salvador: Fifa has challenged German magazine Der Spiegel to offer proof of match-fixing during the World Cup fixture between Cameroon and Croatia after declaring that there was no evidence to support allegations made in the publication.

Convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal has denied that he correctly predicted Cameroon’s result against Croatia to the magazine before the game. The magazine is standing by its report but has yet to provide definitive evidence of the Facebook discussion with a journalist.

“We have requested Der Spiegel to provide us with all the communications with Perumal and any other material in order to prove the allegations they have made,” said Delia Fischer, Fifa’s head of media. “So far we have no evidence of any match manipulation on the betting market. The media and other stakeholders should not call people’s or organisation’s credibility into question just for headlines.

“It is really important to make sure that information is handled with the necessary respect and care.”

The German magazine had claimed Perumal correctly predicted Cameroon would lose 0-4 against Croatia and a player would be sent off. Cameroon did indeed lose by that scoreline, with Alex Song dismissed in the first half.

Perumal, known as the ‘Godfather of Match-Fixing’, then issued a statement saying he made his remarks about Cameroon only after the match in question.

He said in the statement: “Contrary to the ‘revelations’ published by the German weekly that were picked up by news outlets worldwide, I did not predict the result of the Cameroon vs Croatia match.

“The Facebook chat with the journalist took place a few days after the match — June 21st, as confirmed by my Facebook log — and was but an informal assessment of the behaviour of the Cameroon team at the Brazil 2014 World Cup after they had played two of their three group stage matches, including the one with Croatia. At no time did I make reference to four goals being scored or to a red card being issued.

“I am shocked that a respected magazine would go so far as to fabricate statements by yours truly with the visible aim of stirring the row over match-fixing. I apologise to the Cameroon FA and to its fans if I inadvertently offended them.

“I believe that the magazine should also do the same since they placed words in my mouth that I did not utter,” the statement said.