AMSTERDAM, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Attempts to fix the result of a Dutch league match seven years ago have been uncovered by a Dutch football association (KNVB) investigation, it said on Monday.
It is the first time such a case has been established in the Netherlands, the KNVB added in a statement.
It said the probe had uncovered a bid by Ibrahim Kargbo, then a player at Willem II Tilburg, to fix the outcome of a league match against FC Utrecht in August 2009 in co-operation with convicted Singaporean fraudster Wilson Raj Perumal.
“Dutch football is one of the last in Europe to lose its innocence in this matter,” said KNVB operational director Gijs de Jong.
“We have long warned this could happen in the Dutch league but it is still difficult to swallow now that this has been established. Hopefully it will add urgency in the Netherlands to the fight against this plague.”
The KNVB said Kargbo had promised the then captain Michael Aerts and a third unidentified player would work together with him to throw the match against Utrecht in return for 25,000 euros ($28,025) each.
But although Utrecht won 1-0, Perumal, who has already been prosecuted and jailed in other countries for match fixing, refused to pay saying the agreement had been for a win by more than a single goal.
“Nevertheless, it has been established that they agreed on the outcome of the match. There is not enough legal evidence to determine whether Aerts was involved and it is unclear who the third person was,” added the KNVB statement.
It also said a benefit match between Willem II and the Sierra Leone national team in November 2009 was specifically organised with the objective of manipulating the result on behalf of an Asian betting syndicate.
Results of Sierra Leone national team in other competitions might also have been fixed by Kargbo, who was captain of the team, according to the statement.
Allegations made by a Dutch newspaper last year that other Willem II matches had been manipulated were not proven, the statement added, with KNVB saying it would send the report to soccer governing bodies FIFA and UEFA and the Dutch police.
The 33-year-old Kargbo, who last played at English non-league club Thamesmead Town, would not be allowed to participate in any capacity in Dutch football in the future, said the statement.
Kargbo has already been suspended in Sierra Leone for alleged match fixing.
Perumal, 50, has featured in cases involving more than 100 manipulated matches around the world and been jailed in Finland and Hungary.