Nigeria FA to investigate viral match-fixing shooting
The Nigerian Football Federation will open an investigation into an alleged case of match-fixing during a regional FA Cup final match.
A video widely shared on social networks showed the Remo Stars goalkeeper doing nothing to stop opposition penalties, while their outfield players fired their kicks wide enough to reach the touchline.
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Remo Stars lost 3-0 on penalties to Ijebu United in the Ogun State FA Cup Final, the regional qualifying tournament where both runners-up qualify for the domestic FA Cup competition.
Mohammed Sanusi, general secretary of the Football Federation of Nigeria, called the incident “embarrassing” and told ESPN an investigation would be launched.
“There will be an investigation,” he said. “It’s very, very embarrassing. I’ve already asked the NFF Head of Integrity to handle the investigation.”
A source close to Remo Stars owner Kunle Soname told ESPN that the club deliberately decided to lose the shootout to protest the perceived mistreatment of the club by the Ogun State FA and constant controversial calls from the arbitrator.
“Our club was constantly treated badly by the FA, and we didn’t even want to participate in this competition, but we were convinced to participate. During the final, the referee made questionable calls, even refusing us which was a clear penalty kick,” the source said.
“The referee wanted the game to go to a penalty shootout, he signaled just one minute of added time.
“It was the last straw for us, and we decided that we weren’t going to play the penalty shootout and that they should just give us the silver medals for second place. But they told us that we had to play or we risked being disqualified for not concluding the match and bringing the game into disrepute.
“So we said we can play, but playing doesn’t mean we have to score.”
However, following widespread backlash, the official said the club now regret the action and are preparing for any penalty that is imposed.
“In retrospect, we can now see that was a mistake as well. It looks even worse than our original decision not to play at all,” the source added.
Sanusi said NFF chairman Amaju Pinnick, who is in Morocco for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, added his weight to the investigation, while state Football Association chairman of Ogun, Ganiyu Majekodunmi, said they were looking into the matter.
Unless disqualified, Remo Stars will join Ijebu United as representatives of Ogun State in the National FA Cup competition.