The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has denied that it transferred and registered players while they were banned for match-fixing in Finland.
FIFA has opened an investigation into the matter, which involves eight players who were allegedly transferred without an international transfer certificate and outside of the registration period.
Football’s world governing body has said that “at least four of the eight players apparently played in official matches in Zambia despite being suspended on a worldwide basis.”
The Zambian players were banned from all football-related activity by the Finnish federation for two years from April 2011 for match-fixing and unsporting behaviour.
Fifa subsequently extended the ban worldwide.
Eric Mwanza, FAZ’s communications manager and spokesman, noted.
Sport that the body did all it could to ensure the players’ suspensions had been fully served before they were given permission to play again.
“Because the players had served their punishments in Finland, meted out by the Finnish FA and the Finnish courts they were free to play,” he said.
“We are very confident the case will be dropped”
“Those players who had served their bans registered with one or two clubs in Zambia. We registered them at the start of the 2012 season.
“One or two players featured in the first two weeks of the season, before Fifa imposed a worldwide ban on the players.
“The moment that happened we applied that ban locally and suspended the players in line with what was an additional sanction from the world governing body.”
Fifa began disciplinary proceedings against Faz on 19 February and invited the body to explain its reasoning along with any appropriate documentary evidence.
Mwanza is confident that his organisation can show it has done nothing wrong.
“We welcome the investigation. We would like to state very clearly that we detest the abhorrent acts that bring the good name of the game into a bad light,” he said.
“We do not condone whatsoever any acts of match-fixing. Our position is well known and very clear, there would be severe sanctions and punishment, but we have not had incidents of this nature in our football.
“We are happy to provide all the information to FIFA so it can look at the circumstances under which one or two players played in the first weeks of the season, and how we acted swiftly to impose the ban later communicated to us by FIFA.
“Not one of these players has played in the league since FIFA’s ban came into force. All the documentation is ready and we hope the matter can be cleared.
“We are very confident the case will be dropped.”
Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal was sentenced to two years in prison last year for fixing matches in Finland in a scandal that saw nine players suspended.
A Lapland district court statement at the time said Perumal had been part of an international organised group that tried to fix matches played by Rovaniemi club between June 2008 and February 2011.
Perumal paid players up to 20,000 Euros (US$26,400) per match and received up to 50,000 Euros, in addition to some of the betting profits, each time the results were fixed.
Match-fixing has become a huge concern for football authorities with European police and prosecutors saying this month that hundreds of games may have been rigged by a syndicate being run from Singapore.
Aisha Buhari Cup: FIFA, CAF Presidents Grace Kick-Off, Falcons Win 2-0
Substitute Gift Monday handed Nigeria a sweet 2-0 victory on the opening day of the maiden edition of the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Tournament in the City of Lagos.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State led eminent political big-wigs, and FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and CAF President, Patrice Motsepe led football’s top echelon, including President of NFF and FIFA council member, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, to the showpiece at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan.
Monday, interestingly a player of FC Robo Queens of Lagos, spurned in the air to meet a cross by Captain Asisat Oshoala in the 83rd minute and nodded past goalkeeper Fatoumata Karenta, six minutes after coming into the fray for Francisca Ordega.
The goal put the Super Falcons in the lead after a rather turgid day on Lagos island, with the Malians showing greater zest and desire in the opening half and returning after the recess with the same impressive fighting spirit.
The visiting Female Eagles had survived a raid on their area in the 5th minute as Nigeria looked to go into the lead with a corner, but the defence cleared. Nine minutes later, Ordega sidenetted from another quick dash upfront, and in the 18th minute, Ageusissa Diarra tested Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie from a 30-yard free-kick.
In the second half, Uchenna Kanu sidenetted in the 67th minute, before Oshoala, who should have scored with only the goalkeeper to beat, failed to get past Karenta. In the 74th minute, Karenta again saved from Kanu.
In the 83rd minute, Monday rose highest in the box and nodded past Karenta, bringing so much excitement to the arena.
One minute into added time, Monday was again at the end of an Asisat’s assist, and looped the ball over an advancing Karenta to put huge smiles on the faces of Nigerians.
Enyimba Appoints Finidi George As Head Coach
The former Ajax and Real Betis winger, George Finidi, who replaces Fatai Osho whose contract expired at the end of August, has joined the eight-time Nigerian champions, Enyimba FC, on a two-year contract.
George, a legend of Nigeria’s men’s senior national team, made 62 appearances for the Super Eagles in an illustrious playing career that lasted up to fifteen years.
He was a key member of the glorious era that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and represented the country at two FIFA World Cups, the 1994 and 1998 editions.
Tidesports source reports that at club level, George won the UEFA Champions League with Ajax in 1995 and went on to play for Real Betis, RCD Mallorca, and Ipswich Town.
His first official game as Enyimba head coach will be the CAF Confederation Cup’s second preliminary round fixture against Senegalese side, Diambers FC in mid-October.
Speaking to Enyimba’s media immediately after putting pen to paper, George said, “I have to say it’s a great opportunity for the club to have this confidence in me.
“I want to thank the chairman, the members of the board, and the supporters for even thinking about me. On my own part, I will be here to just work and do the job. It’s never going to be easy but I’m here to work and make the team win.”
Chairman of Enyimba, Felix Anyansi Agwu, stated that the arrival of George represents a new chapter for the club.
“I believe that the time has come for us as a club to open up a new chapter, a chapter that will showcase the many hardwork that has been going on behind the scene and usher in lots of success.
“For us to have engaged a coach like Finidi George who is coming from Europe is a clear statement of intent about our aspirations,” Agwu said.
Arteta Sees Light For Arsenal
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he sees a bright future for the club despite suffering their worst start to a season for 67 years.
The Gunners climbed off the bottom of the Premier League table with their first goal and first points of the campaign by beating Norwich 1-0 last weekend.
However, Arteta’s position is still under scrutiny ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Burnley after spending £150 million ($207 million) on new players during the transfer window.
The Spaniard claimed after beating Norwich he had enjoyed the “best 10 days of his career in this industry” during an international break when his side was rock bottom of the table.
And Arteta was equally optimistic on where Arsenal are headed with all six of his summer signings aged 23 or under.
“I’m telling you I’m very positive most of the time. I’ve seen the light and I can see bright lights,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
“There can be bumps in the road within that light, but I can see a lot of light.”
Arteta is also hopeful the criticism his squad suffered after defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City will only serve to make them stronger.
“It’s tough because it hurts, because you want to see something different. But what you want is not always what happens,” he added.
“Things happen for a reason and maybe what is happening had to happen and it’s going to be really good for the club and really good for myself and everybody experiencing that situation. We have to believe that.”
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