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Lebanon: 24 Lebanese footballers suspended over game fixing
Lebanese and Asian football authorities suspended 24 players involved in bribery and game fixing Tuesday, following a three-month investigation into the charges.
Two of the players, Lebanese National Team members Mahmoud al-Ali and Ramez Dyoub, were each fined $15,000 and banned from playing for life for having a main role in the scheme. They allegedly secured communication between players and betting companies in Lebanon and East Asia.
Players Hadi Sehmerani and Mohammed Jaafar were suspended for three years, and each fined $7,000.
The remaining 20 players were each slapped with $3,000 fines and a one year suspension.
Most of the players and administrators involved in this scandal belong to former Lebanese league champions al-Ahed football club.
Video from a World Cup Qualifying game between Lebanon and Qatar shows Lebanese defender Ramez Dyoub pass the ball to a rival player, which resulted in the game’s only goal. LFA head said that this particular game was not one of the fixed games:
The announcement was made during a joint press conference in Beirut between the heads of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) and the Lebanese Football Association (LFA).
The LFA had entrusted a third-party committee to investigate the circumstances of the case, which spanned back three years.
The investigation lasted about three months and included interviews with 65 witnesses including 18 administrators and three referees. It ultimately concluded that 24 players and administrators were involved in the scandal.
Fadi Zureiqat, WAFF secretary general, said that investigators also looked into documents and audio recordings.
He added that Lebanese football clubs had willingly cooperated with the investigation.
Jihad al-Chohof, LFA secretary general, said that his federation will follow up on the case to approve the sanctions and forward the recommendations to FIFA.
He added that the LFA is also taking into account the sanctions given to the 24 players and the current states of the football clubs.
“The most important thing is that we have amputated the masterminds behind this ... conspiracy against the Lebanese [national] team,” he said.
The Lebanese national team is currently playing in the final stages of the Asian qualifiers to the 2014 World Cup to be held in Brazil.
This is the first time the Lebanese team reaches this stage, although it now holds the fifth place in the five team group from which the top two teams qualify directly to the world’s most important football event.
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