FIFA Absolves Bulgarian Body over 'Rigged' Friendly

Sports | March 10, 2011, Thursday // 14:43
Bulgaria: FIFA Absolves Bulgarian Body over 'Rigged' Friendly Bulgarian Football Union president Borislav Mihaylov (C) is pictured here leaving for Antalya, for the suspicious firendly match against Estonia. Photo by BGNES

FIFA have brought charges against six match officials involved in alleged match-fixing at an international friendly tournament, absolving in this way the Bulgarian football federation of suspicions of a possible manipulation.

"FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against six match officials in relation to the international A friendly matches Bolivia v Latvia and Estonia v Bulgaria played in Antalya (Turkey) on 9 February 2011," a FIFA statement reads.

"The proceedings were opened following an evaluation of all documentation and information received by FIFA, in relation to a possible match-fixing situation in these matches.

"The FIFA Disciplinary Committee will be in charge to deal with the matter."

The Bulgarian and Estonian football federations approached the European and world governing bodies after the match ended 2-2 with all four goals coming from the penalty spot.

Consequently FIFA approached the Bulgarian football federation, asking for the match report from the friendly against Estonia.

The game was organized by the Thailand-based agency "Footy Sport International", while Russian Sergey Protsenko acted as an intermediary despite not holding a license by a FIFA manager.

The same people organized the previous match between Latvia and Bolivia, in which all three goals were also scored from penalties. Latvia beat Bolivia 2-1 in a friendly in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya just before the Bulgaria-Estonia game.

Hungarian referee Krisztian Selmeczi, who was in charge of both matches, has been suspended in the wake of the scandal.

The Bulgarian body has repeatedly protested its innocence, saying they knew nothing of a betting scam that is suspected to have led to all seven goals scored on penalty kicks.

FIFA said last week it would tighten the rules over friendlies following the matches.

FIFA said the governing body would have to be informed who was refereeing each match and that they would intervene in the future if they saw anything suspicious.

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Tags: Group G, Wales, England, Montenegro, friendly, Bulgarian, estonian, Turkish, turkey, Antalya, Lothar Matthaeus, draw, penalties, Estonia, Bulgaria, UEFA, FIFA, Latvia, Bolivia, Matthaeus, Switzerland, football

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