Ghana team manager dimisses 2006 World Cup match-fix claims


Hamburg : Ghana’s team manager at the 2006 World Cup has dismissed an allegation that players were involved in fixing the result of their quarter-final match with Brazil.

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Anthony Baffoe, a former Bundesliga player and manager of the 2006 World cup team, told Die Welt newspaper that he “could not imagine” any player being involved.

“I was with the team daily and did not hear of any arrangements,” he said.

A sum of $30,000 allegedly offered by a betting syndicate was in any case far less than the players would have been paid for beating Brazil, he said.

“No one would betray their country for that,” he said.

The allegation emerged in an interview with the Canadian investigate journalist Declan Hill with the German magazine Spiegel.

Hill said his research had shown that an Asian syndicate wanted Ghana to lose the match by at least two goals. Brazil went on to win 3-0 in Dortmund.

Hill, who has a book on match-fixing published in Germany lasy week, said three years of research had shown that a former Ghana international had acted as middleman between Ghana’s players and the head of a betting syndicate in Bangkok.

Meanwhile German football authorities are investigating a claim by the magazine that two German Bundesliga matches may have been fixed.

Spiegel said its own research had shown two matches to be suspicious after huge sums were placed on them by a Malaysian who has been convicted of attempted match-fixing.

German Football Federation (DFB) president Theo Zewanziger told Sunday’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper that the federation’s control committee would be examining the allegations before deciding whether to launch an investigation.

“You can be sure won’t be sweeping anything under the carpet,” he said.

German football was rocked by a match-fixing scandal three-and-a-half years ago involving referee Robert Hoyzer, but no first-division matches were involved.

According to the Spiegel report, Malysian businessman William Bee Wah Lim placed 2.8 million euros ($4.1 million) with Asian bookmakers on Kaiserslautern losing a first-division match at Hanover Nov 26, 2005. As a result of Hanover’s 5-1 victory he won 2.2 million euros.

He placed almost 4 million euros on Karlsruhe beating Sportfreunde Siegen in a second-division match on Aug 7, 2005. Karlsruhe won the game 2-0.

The report said investigations had produced evidence that Lim had contacts with players from Kaiserslautern, Karlsruhe and Sportfreunde Siegen, although the players have protested their innocence.

Lim was sentenced to a jail term of two years and five months a court in Frankfurt in June 2007 after being convicted of attempted fixing of matches in the German regional league (then third division) and the Austrian first division. The two Bundesliga matches were not part of the court proceedings.

He was released on conditional bail of 40,000 euros but has since left the country. A warrant for his arrest was issued in January.

In a joint statement Saturday, the DFB and German Football League (DFL) said there had been no grounds until now for thinking either of the two matches could have been fixed. However the company Sportradar has been instructed to carry out an analysis of the matches.