CONCACAF investigates game rigging

For the first time in the history of football in Belize, three players have been accused of taking bribes to affect the outcome of a game, known
The game in question is one which was played on April 29, 2015, between the BDF Football Club and Verdes. BDF lost the playoff game 6-0, which caused immediate speculation from football observers, who were amazed at the devastating loss by a team which was actually ahead on points accrued during the season going into the game.

But the alleged match-fixing has done much more than raise eyebrows and fuel speculation. The Reporter has got hold of the copy of a letter sent to FFB General Secretary Michael Blease, on April 30th, 2015. It’s signed by BDF Head Coach, Charles Slusher, who tells Blease that “it is with a heavy heart that I ask the Football Federa-

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-ration of Belize to please look into the PLB playoff game between the Belize Defence Force Football Club and Verdes Football Club.”
In the letter, Slusher names the players, but does not provide any evidence to support the allegations of match-fixing. He wrote: “I believe and suspect that there were some players of the BDF Football Club who were directly involved in match-fixing during the game.”

He goes further to claim that “I can only suspect that some other players were involved, but specifically these three players stand out because of their actions before, during and after the game in question.”
The allegations by Head Coach Slusher were enough to result in an immediate investigation being launched by CONCACAF, the governing body for football in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Football Federation of Belize President, Ruperto Vicente told The Reporter that it is something which is being taken very seriously because if the allegation is determined to be true, it could result in the suspension of the players, officials of the BDF Football Club and even the team.

There is little additional information on the investigation, which can be provided by Vicente. That’s because the FFB under its by-laws cannot be involved in any way with the investigative process. That matter is being handled by Integrity Officer, Elmer Torres, who was nominated by the FFB but who reports directly to CONCACAF.

The three players in question have not been disciplined in any way. Any sanction, if any, will be based on the results of the investigation.

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