Club football has returned around the world meaning countries, its citizens and international break lovers have finally had the time to catch their breathe over the frantic week that was Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying. Whether it was European, Asia or South America’s matches that had you on the edge of your seat, a week later that feeling it is still very much present.
Argentina (6th) went away to Ecuador, Quito where the Albiceleste ran away 1-3 winners thanks to a Lionel Messi hat-trick. La Roja travelled to Sao Paolo, Brasil lost 0-3. Peru hosted Colombia ended in a 1-1 draw which pleased both teams as Peru secured the Play-off spot and James Rodriguez and his troops took the final automatic qualification spot
Match fixing allegations
As fans erupted over what happened, ex-players also believe what happened in the final moments of that match between Peru-Colombia should be investigated. Speaking to Chile’s Radio ADN, La Roja legend, Ivan Zamorano believes action should be taken, “These are very sensitive issues, as the FIFA statutes and rules are very clear and that cannot be so. I hope that in some minute they will take control of the annex that happens in football and they take on the matter. When they see that there is such an obvious thing they should form a precedent so that this will never happen again on a football field. But Chile should be kept out of it for the moment.”
ANFP, Chile’s football governing body chose to stay out of this matter and left FIFA to analyse and investigate the match. Nonetheless, Chileans took it into their own hands as a petition is circulating around the world on Change.org to call FIFA to disqualify Colombia and Peru for match fixing. The petition has been signed by more than 5,000 hopefuls.
One lawyer taking this fight upon himself
The fight is just beginning as the news spread that ANFP would not take action against the allegations, Chilean lawyer, Luis Mariano Rendon decided to take on the gigantic fight upon himself.
Luis Mariano Rendón presented a complaint form before FIFA, arguing that it should analyse what happened in the Peruvian capital, after the federations of Chile and Paraguay declined to move forward with the issue.
In his complaint, the lawyer states that “the obvious pact between Colombian and Peruvian players constitutes an act of extraordinary gravity, which contravenes sports ethics, which implies, as a basic budget, real competition.” Everything indicates that we are facing a case of collusion, to the benefit of the participants in the agreement and to the detriment of other teams, very similar to how collusion occurs in the markets, where there is also supposed to be competition.
He continues, “The facts described from the wrongful act sanctioned in article 69 of the Code of Discipline of FIFA, which punishes” … who tries to influence the outcome of a party contravening the principles of sports ethics.”
Ecuador players hungover before their match vs Argentina
As Argentina travelled to altitude, to Quito, Ecuador they were haunted by one statistic; they have not won away in Quito in 16 years. This match was seen as vital as already eliminated Ecuador were thought to give Argentina a run for their money in their final and crucial match.
Without discrediting Lionel Messi’s hat-trick, their win could have been aided by five hung over Ecuadorian players, three who took the field. The five players partied until the early hours of the night the night before their World Cup qualifier. Ecuador’s Football Federation President, Carlos Villacis decided to go public and clear the rumours.
“It is easier to sit back and cross your arms and do nothing,” he said.
The five players are said to be Enner Valencia, Jefferson Orejuela, Robert Arboleda, Gabriel Cortés and Joao Plata, according to the press in Ecuador. Those players have been indefinitely suspended by the Ecuadorian Football Federation on Tuesday who believed they had to set a precedent for the future generations who dream of playing for their national team on day.