Wilson Raj denies making Cameroon predictions
Cameroon’s Alexandre Song bizarrely elbows an opponent in the back in clear sight of the referee, gets sent off, and his team go on to lose 4-0 to Croatia.
German news magazine Der Spiegel had reported yesterday that not only did the notorious Singaporean match fixer Wilson Raj Perumal predict the score of the World Cup Group A match on June 19 (Singapore time), he also predicted that a Cameroon player would get a red card.
Wilson Raj was reported to have said that there were “seven bad apples” in the Cameroon team and that he believed all three of their World Cup matches had been compromised.
This morning, though, the 48-year-old released a statement denying that he has made any of the predictions.
He said, via the website of the co-authors of his book Kelong Kings: “Contrary to the ‘revelations’ published by the German weekly Der Spiegel... I did not predict the result of the Cameroon v Croatia match.
“The Facebook chat with the Der Spiegel journalist took place a few days after the match — June 21, as confirmed by my Facebook log — but it was an informal assessment of the behaviour of the Cameroon team at the 2014 World Cup after they had played two of their three group stage matches, including the one with Croatia. “At no time did I make reference to four goals being scored or to a red card being issued.
At no time did I suggest that I had any way of corroborating or substantiating what was meant to be an educated guess based on my extensive match-fixing experience.”
While the convicted Singaporean match fixer might have denied predicting the outcome of the Cameroon-Croatia match, an associate who requested anonymity told The New Paper that Wilson Raj had been offering tips to his friends in Singapore since the start of the World Cup.
“Of all his tips for more than 50 games, all were wrong except three,” said the associate, who believes that Wilson Raj is broke.
The three matches were: Ivory Coast v Japan, Chile v Australia and Croatia v Cameroon.
“If you had followed all his tips, you would also be broke and have loan sharks knocking on your door,” he said.
On Wilson Raj’s Facebook account, he had previously posted tips like “punters focus on over 2.5, you will laugh your way to the bank at the end of the tournament”.
For the Ivory Coast v Japan match, Wilson Raj had predicted on Facebook: “Ivory Coast v Japan over 2.5 nap”, meaning the match would feature more than two goals — three goals were scored in the game with the score 2-1 in favour of the African nation.
Meanwhile, Fifa has so far remained silent on the claims published in Der Spiegel.
Football’s governing body spokesperson Delia Fischer would not confirm or deny if Fifa was investigating the claims, adding that even if it was, it would not reveal that information.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter said: “Yes, I have been told about this but let them do their work on this investigation.”
The International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS), who works closely with Fifa and the authorities on match fixing, said this morning there were no suspicious betting patterns for the Cameroon-Croatia match.
“The advice we have received from the legal or so-called ‘regulated’ sport betting industry is that there was no observable suspicious betting on this match,” the ICSS said.
However, ICSS director of sport integrity, Chris Eaton, said that his Qatar-based organisation is still taking the allegations very seriously.
He said: “The ICSS is aware of the allegation first reported by Der Spiegel that Wilson Raj Perumal, a well-known and convicted match fixer, apparently accurately predicted the outcome of a specific match result and foul outcome for a game at the Fifa World Cup, using a Facebook account.
“In my view, this case should command a swift, strong and, most importantly, an international and co-ordinated investigation to clear the air in the interest of football and all concerned.”
This is not the first time Der Spiegel has published shocking reports based on conversations with Singaporean match fixers.
Last March, it claimed that Singaporean kelong kingpin Dan Tan Seet Eng had said that he tried in vain to fix a Champions League match between Barcelona and Fenerbahce in September 2001.
This is also not the first time that Wilson Raj has been linked to match fixing on football’s grandest stage.
In April, he claimed in his book “Kelong Kings” that he was instrumental in Nigeria’s qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
He said he rigged their qualification in exchange for permission to organise warm-up matches and a cut of the money for hosting a training camp.
He claimed he had paid the Mozambique FA $100,000 to fend off Tunisia with a draw — a result that helped Nigeria seal their place in South Africa.
A Fifa report also highlighted that his kelong cartel had compromised friendlies in the lead-up to the 2010 World Cup.
Cameroon investigate kelong claims
In response to the Der Spiegel report, Cameroon's football federation (Fecafoot) said in a statement: "Recent allegations of fraud around Cameroon's 2014 Fifa World Cup three preliminary games, especially Cameroon v Croatia, as well of the 'existence of seven bad apples' do not reflect the values and principles promoted by our administration, in line with Fifa Code of Conduct and the ethics of our nation.
"We wish to inform the general public that, though not yet contacted by Fifa in regards to this affair, our administration has already instructed its Ethics Committee to further investigate these accusations."
A report in UK's The Guardian newspaper on June 23 quoted Cameroon coach Volker Finke denying allegations of match-rigging after Cameroon's loss to Croatia.
He said: "I find it completely impossible that my players would give away the match. Don't worry about that at all."