Another match is being investigated by FIFA as part of their ongoing quest to rid the game of Football match fixing. The European soccer season may be over but the international fixtures come thick and fast. Argentina’s match with Nigeria last week is the latest to come under suspicion after the world governing body noticed skeptical betting patterns.
“FIFA can confirm that this match between Nigeria and Argentina was one that we had an active interest in and forms part of a wider FIFA investigation,” a spokesman for the world governing body told the Daily Telegraph.
The game’s final score was 4-1 to the hosts Nigeria. It was visitors’ goal that has raised so much doubt though. It was scored in the eighth of five minutes of stoppage time. Now it doesn’t take a mathematician to work out that eight into five doesn’t go. Even murkier is that the goal was a penalty awarded for the ball reportedly striking the lower leg of a Nigeria defender. Mauro Boselli converted from 12 yards. This all after a fair amount of dollar was wagered on there being a fifth goal.
Matthew Benham, from SmartOdds, told the Guardian, “There had been some crazy moves on the in-running market early in the game. With 86 minutes played the odds for 4.50 [a fifth goal to be scored] were absolutely insane. The market was effectively saying it was odds against that there would be no more goals. It is hard to get an exact figure for how much would have been bet to force that kind of swing but we are certainly talking hundreds of thousands, possibly more than £1,000,000.”
Nigeria’s FA have come out to criticize the allegations as trying to taint what they believe is an important win. They did add that they will help FIFA with their inquiries, saying, “We will do everything we can to assist FIFA in their investigations into this matter, and we would also set up an internal enquiry to look into this match. We will put all these measures in place in the spirit of fair play and transparency.”
The official at the centre of the controversy, Nigeria-national Ibrahim Chaibou, also officiated the “fake” game between Togo and Bahrain back in September. Lightning rarely strikes twice.
Due to the wide area they take place over it’s harder for FIFA to have controls over international games. The fact that they’ve partnered with Interpol should give them a much wider scope over anything-untoward taking place.