Saudi Arabia suspends World Cup referee over bribery

Elias Hubbard
May 16, 2018

Fahad Al Mirdasi was due to fly to Russia in the coming weeks but Saudi Arabia's soccer federation (SAFF) said on Wednesday that he had been suspended after it emerged he had offered to fix a match last weekend.

In a statement, the disciplinary and ethics committee said Mirdasi had approached the president of Al-Ittihad asking him for a bribe to enable his team to win.

In an embarrassing and untimely blow to both Federation Internationale de Football Association and the Saudis, Fahad Al Mirdasi, one of Asia's most experienced officials, will be conspicuous by his absence in Russia after being placed under investigation in Saudi Arabia as soon as he was removed from handling last weekend's Saudi cup final.

At a time when players, coaches, referees and other stakeholders are looking forward to hitting Russian Federation in a matter of days, referee Fahad Al Mirdasi is on the verge of missing an opportunity to handle the whistle in Russian Federation after he was slammed with a ban in Saudi Arabia.

"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.

Mirdasi was dropped from refereeing Saturday's King's Cup final after an investigation was opened.

'After the president of Ittihad club presented what was in his possession to the Federation of Football, the Saudi Federation sent this conversation to the Chairman of the General Directorate of Sport, who in turn informed the competent authorities in all details. Al Mirdasi was also a referee at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The governing body removed Al Mirdasi from overseeing the match, after referring him to administrative investigators, and former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg stepped in on the eve of the game to take over officiating duties.

He was one of five Arab referees chosen to officiate in the 2018 World Cup.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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