February 26, 2019 / 5:13 PM / 3 months ago

Soccer-Referee banned for life for manipulating matches

ZURICH, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Referee Oden Charles Mbaga has been banned for life and fined 200,000 Swiss francs ($200,000) for accepting bribes to manipulate football matches, soccer’s governing body FIFA said on Tuesday.

FIFA said in a statement that its ethics committee had found Mbaga guilty of accepting bribes in violation of the FIFA code of ethics following an investigation opened in July.

In a subsequent email to Reuters, FIFA said that Mbaga “accepted bribes to manipulate several national and international matches between 2009 and 2012.” It did not give any further details over which matches were involved.

FIFA described Mbaga as a “referee affiliated to the Tanzanian Football Federation.”

The ban excludes him from “from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level,” the statement added.

Mbaga could not immediately be reached for comment.

Match-fixing is often organised by betting syndicates who bribe players or officials to manipulate matches and make money by correctly gambling on the result.

Last month, former international referee Ibrahim Chaibou from Niger was banned for life and fined 200,000 Swiss francs after being found guilty of taking bribes. FIFA did not give any further details on that case. ($1 = 1.0000 Swiss francs) (Writing by Brian Homewood Editing by Toby Davis)

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