Bid to fix Dutch match uncovered

AMSTERDAM • Attempts to fix the result of a Dutch league match seven years ago have been uncovered by a Dutch football association (KNVB) investigation.

It is the first time such a case has been established in the Netherlands.

The KNVB said the probe had uncovered a bid by Ibrahim Kargbo, then a player at Willem II Tilburg, to fix the outcome of a league match against FC Utrecht in August 2009 in cooperation with convicted Singaporean fraudster Wilson Raj Perumal.

"Dutch football is one of the last in Europe to lose its innocence in this matter," said KNVB operational director Gijs de Jong. "We have long warned this could happen in the Dutch league but it is still difficult to swallow now that this has been established. Hopefully it will add urgency in the Netherlands to the fight against this plague."

The KNVB said Kargbo had promised the then-captain Michael Aerts that an unidentified player would work with him to throw the match against Utrecht in return for €25,000 (S$39,000) each.

But, although Utrecht won 1-0, Perumal, who has already been jailed in other countries for match-fixing, refused to pay, saying the agreement had been for a win by more than a single goal.

"Nevertheless, it has been established that they agreed on the outcome of the match. There is not enough legal evidence to determine whether Aerts was involved and it is unclear who the third person was," said the KNVB.

It also said a benefit match between Willem II and the Sierra Leone national team, whose captain was Kargbo, in November 2009 was specifically organised with the objective of manipulating the result on behalf of an Asian betting syndicate.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2016, with the headline 'Bid to fix Dutch match uncovered'. Print Edition | Subscribe