No matchfixing link to Lebanon World Cup games, say AFC

Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:54am GMT

1 of 2. Lebanon's Mahmoud El-Ali reacts during a match in Beirut May 18, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mohamed Azakir

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(Reuters) - The Asian Football Confederation is not aware of any suspicion linking Lebanon's World Cup qualifiers to the country's matchfixing scandal but has requested a full report, the regional body said on Thursday.

The AFC said in a statement they had only received a summary report on the scandal from the Lebanese Football Association, who handed out various penalties to 24 players, including life bans for defender Ramez Dayoub and forward Mahmoud El-Ali, for their role in the scandal.

The two-month investigation involving over 60 witnesses was led by the general secretary of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), Fadi Zreiqat, who said international and club games were targeted by the fixers.

The AFC said the various sanctions imposed by the Lebanese would extend to the three players who play their club football outside of the West Asian country.

El Ali plays in Indonesia for Persiba Balipapan, Dayoub for Selangor in Malaysia and Akram Moghrani for Indian side Churchill Brothers.

Dayoub has denied the accusations.

Lebanon are still in contention to qualify for their first World Cup finals with three matches remaining, but the side who are bottom in the five-team Group A face a tough task to claim one of the top two positions and reach Brazil.

The AFC said they had also set up an internal task force to educate their member association on ways and measures to tackle 'the menace' of matchfixing and praised the Lebanese for their efforts.

"AFC would like to congratulate the Lebanese Football Association for carrying out the investigation and imposing sanctions on its players and would continue to support such initiatives by our member associations," the statement said.

(Reporting by Patrick Johnston; Editing by Alison Wildey)

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