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Saudia Football Federation Bans World Cup Referee for Taking Bribe

By Atiya Riffat

The Saudi Football Federation (SFF) have banned referee Fahad al-Mirdasi for life over bribery and urged FIFA to remove him from the pool of referees for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Mirdasi was suspended after admitting offering to take a bribe to influence the outcome of a match, the federation’s disciplinary and ethics committee said late Tuesday.

The 32-year-old is one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent referees, having earned a FIFA badge in 2011 and officiating at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 and the Confederations Cup in Russia in 2017.

In a statement to AFP, FIFA said it was looking at the case and seeking more information.

“FIFA notes the information that referee Fahad Al Mirdasi has allegedly been banned for life from all football-related activities by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF),” it said.

“FIFA has requested more information from the SAFF before making any further comments.” Mirdasi was chosen to referee Saudi Arabia’s Kings Cup final between top clubs Al-Faisaly and Al-Ittihad on Saturday but was pulled from the roster just a few hours before the game.

Fahad Al Mirdasi requested a bribe from Al Ittihad in the King’s Cup final, one of the country’s most prestigious competitions.Al Ittihad chief Hamad Al Senaie reported to the Saudi federation that Al Mirdasi had contacted him via WhatsApp and requested money in order to help the team win the game against Al Faisaly, the SFF said.

The case was referred to the Saudi Football Federation, then the General Authority for Sport — the highest sports authority in the kingdom — triggering an administrative investigation.

Mirdasi confessed to the charges, according to the statement, and it was decided to deprive him from participating in any football activity for life.

The committee banned him for life and recommended that the 32-year-old referee be suspended from participating in June and July’s World Cup in Russia and other international events.

“Our integrity is above all considerations,” said Turki Al-Sheikh, head of the General Authority for Sport.

Mirdasi was one of five Arab referees chosen by FIFA to officiate at the 2018 World Cup.

 

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