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World Cup-bound referee handed lifetime ban in Saudi Arabia for match-fixing

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Saudi referee Fahad al-Mirdasi (file photo)

The Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) has called on the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to withdraw Fahad al-Mirdasi from next month’s World Cup in Russia after the referee was handed a lifetime ban for a match-fixing attempt.

The Riyadh-based federation has asked the world’s soccer governing body to slap the measure against the 32-year-old after having confessed to offering to fix King's Cup final between Saudi Premier League football clubs al-Ittihad and al-Faisaly on May 12.

According to the SAFF, Mirdasi contacted an al-Ittihad official, who handed the messages over.

“Following the appointment of the referee, Fahad al-Mirdasi, to manage the match between al-Ittihad and al-Faisaly in the Cup final, Mr. Hamad Al-Saniaa, the president of al-Ittihad club, addressed the Saudi football federation. He confirmed that he had evidence which highlights al-Mirdasi offering help for money,” a statement from SAFF read.

It added, “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 in custody and had been presented then to the administrative investigation. Following the investigations, the Saudi Federation received the report of the competent authorities, which proved the charge against the referee under his personal confession of the request for bribery,” the statement concluded.

FIFA, in return, has requested more information.

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

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