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El Salvador bans 14 match-fixing footballers

Football federation chief confirms life ban for 14 international players in third global football scandal this week.

Last Modified: 21 Sep 2013 00:03
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Police search the home of one of the banned footballers [Reuters]

El Salvador has banned 14 international footballers for life over match-fixing in the third such scandal to hit the sport this week.

One other player was given an 18-month ban, two were suspended for six months, one was acquitted while four more face further investigation, Carlos Mendez, the country's football federation (FESFUT) president, told a news conference on Friday.

"The work of the disciplinary commission has been exhaustive," Mendez said.

"We have used valuable information which has come from interviews, video accounts from people who have had the strength to declare and help us find those responsible."

The bans come one day after a group of mostly British footballers appeared in a Melbourne court after Australian police arrested them in an operation to smash a multi-million-dollar match-fixing ring.

Police in Singapore said on Wednesday that they had arrested 14 people suspected of being members of an organised crime ring in a match-fixing bust there.

The 14 El Salvador players given life bans were goalkeepers Dagoberto Portillo and Miguel Montes, defenders Ramon Flores, Miguel Granadino, Luis Anaya, Mardoqueo Henriquez, Alfredo Pacheco, Marvin Gonzalez and Reynaldo Hernandez and midfielders Osael Romero, Darwin Bonilla, Dennis Alas, Ramon Sanchez and Christian Castillo.

Pacheco, Romero, Gonzalez, Alas and Sanchez have more than 50 caps apiece.

Financial struggle

Carlos Romero was banned for 18 months, Eliseo Quintanilla and Victor Turcios for six months each and Carlos Carillo was acquitted.

Rodolfo Zelaya, Emerson Umana, Rodrigo Martinez, Benji Villalobos will face further investigation, FESFUT said.

All 22 players had been provisionally suspended since August and have 15 days to appeal.

"The national teams will continue with their agenda," Mendez said. "The players pass by and the institutions are permanent."

The president said the matches affected included a 5-0 defeat by Mexico at the 2011 Gold Cup.

Central America is particularly vulnerable to match-fixing because many clubs struggle financially, playing conditions are poor and footballers often do not get paid on time.

Last year, Guatemalan internationals Guillermo Ramirez, Gustavo Cabrera and Yony Flores were banned for life by their
country's federation for trying to persuade team-mates to manipulate a friendly against Costa Rica.

The case was brought to light by the then national team coach Ever Almeida and striker Carlos Ruiz.

Nicaragua defender Armando Collado was also banned for life over a friendly against Guatemala played in 2010.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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