Yaounde: Cameroon football chiefs said they are determined to root out the seven players they termed as ‘bad apples’ implicated in an alleged match-fixing scandal over their World Cup group game with Croatia.
“Recent allegations of fraud around Cameroon’s 2014 Fifa World Cup three preliminary games, especially Cameroon versus Croatia, as well of the ‘existence of seven bad apples (in our national team)’ do not reflect the values and principles promoted by our administration, in line with Fifa’s code of conduct and the ethics of our nation,” the Cameroon federation (Fecafoot) said in a statement on its website.
“We are strongly committed to employ all means necessary to resolve this disruptive matter in the shortest delays,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, Fifa remained silent on Tuesday regarding the allegations. Fifa spokeswoman Delia Fischer would not confirm or deny that soccer’s world ruling body was investigating the claims, adding that even if it was, it would not reveal that information.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter, met by reporters at his hotel in Rio, said: “Yes I have been told about this, but let them do their work on this investigation.”
Fecafoot added that in 55 years they had never before been punished for “match-fixing or any fraud of any kind.”
The launching of the investigation by the ethics committee followed a report in Germany in which a Singaporean match-fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal, correctly forecast that Croatia would win 4-0 and that a player would be sent off in the first-half.
Barcelona star Alex Song was dismissed for a bizarre elbow assault to the back of Mario Mandzukic in the 40th minute. Later in the match, left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto aimed a headbutt at teammate Benjamin Moukandjo leading the Indomitable Lions veteran German coach Volker Finke to label their behaviour as unacceptable.
Cameroon’s campaign proved to be an unmitigated disaster from start to finish as the players refused to board their plane for the finals, until a problem was resolved over their bonuses. Their world class player Samuel Eto’ barely played, while aside from the Croatia thrashing, the team went down 0-1 to Mexico and 1-4 to hosts Brazil.
However, Wilson Raj Perumal admitted on Tuesday that he had no evidence to support his claim that Cameroon fixed all three of their matches at the World Cup.
Perumal confirmed he told a German journalist that he believed there were “seven rotten apples” in the Cameroon team who were “on the take” and “fixed all three matches” against Brazil, Croatia and Mexico.
But the man who claims to have helped two countries qualify for the 2010 World Cup by fixing their games categorically denied predicting the 4-0 scoreline of the Croatia-Cameroon contest before it was played on June 18.
Perumal – currently in Hungary and said to be assisting with match-fixing inquiries – denied any correspondence with the journalist between June 11 and June 20.
He said: “Contrary to the ‘revelations’ published by the German weekly Der Spiegel that were picked up by news outlets worldwide, I did not predict the result of the Cameroon vs Croatia match played on June 18, 2014.
“The Facebook chat with the Der Spiegel journalist took place a few days after the match – June 21, as confirmed by my Facebook log – and was but an informal assessment of the behaviour of the Cameroon team at the 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 apologise to the Cameroon FA and to its fans if I inadvertently offended them; it was not my intention.” (agencies)