FIFA lets Cameroon lead in matchfixing probe

Football fans watch the Brazil v Cameroon match on a television in Porto Seguro, on June 23, 2014, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup

FIFA said Tuesday it will let Cameroon football authorities lead the hunt for "seven bad apples" in the national team who have been linked to match-fixing at the World Cup. The Cameroon federation has said it is determined to "employ all means necessary" to uncover any wrongdoing around the African country's World Cup group game against Croatia. But a former head of FIFA security said convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal, who made the allegations against Cameroon, has also provided "disinformation." The Cameroon Football Federation said its ethics committee was looking into Perumal's allegations, reported by Der Spiegel magazine, that he correctly forecast the 4-0 victory by Croatia and that a player would be sent off. FIFA has refused to comment on the case or whether its security department is investigating. FIFA president Sepp Blatter confirmed he has been told about the allegations. "Yes I have been told about this but let them do their work on this investigation," he told the British news agency Press Association in Rio de Janeiro. "Speaking generally, the integrity of the game is a top priority for FIFA and as such we take any allegations of match manipulation very seriously," said FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer. The Cameroon federation gave no details of its hunt to add to its statement Monday which announced the ethics commission inquiry. "Recent allegations of fraud around Cameroon's 2014 Fifa World Cup three preliminary games, especially Cameroon versus Croatia, as well of the 'existence of seven bad apples [in our national team]' do not reflect the values and principles promoted by our administration," it said. "We are strongly committed to employ all means necessary to resolve this disruptive matter in the shortest delays." The match raised eyebrows when Barcelona star Alex Song was dismissed for a bizarre elbow assault to the back of Mario Mandzukic in the 40th minute. Later, left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto aimed a headbutt at team-mate Benjamin Moukandjo leading the 'Indomitable Lions' German coach Volker Finke to label their behaviour as "disgusting". Before the tournament started, the players refused to board their plane for the finals until a problem was resolved over their bonuses. They lost all three games to Croatia, Mexico (1-0) and Brazil (4-1). The government has since ordered an inquiry into the disastrous World Cup campaign. The Le Jour newspaper said that football leaders and officials and team captain Samuel Eto'o have been summoned by police. However former Cameroon international goalkeeper, Joseph Antoine Bell, dismissed the allegations in an interview with AFP. "It's crazy. I cannot see anyone normal who would want to corrupt this team," he commented. "I cannot believe that someone would be tempted to corrupt a team that is losing, Bell added. The International Centre for Sport Security, based in Qatar, said that "key questions" had to be answered about the case and Perumal's involvement. Perumal -- who started fixing matches in his native Singapore before moving abroad -- was first arrested and ordered jail in Finland in 2011. He is now in Hungary, under police protection. Chris Eaton, ICSS director, said there has been no observed "suspicious betting" on the Cameroon-Croatia game. "Key questions that should be asked about this case include how, when and from whom Perumal received information about this match and why he sent it to the media, instead of passing this information to the police and prosecutors that he has reportedly been co-operating with over the past three years," Eaton said. Since his arrest in 2011, Perumal has "gradually been giving accurate information on global match-fixing. He has also given a great deal of disinformation," Eaton added. The case is so serious that it must be given "a swift, strong and, most importantly, an international and co-ordinated investigation," the expert said.