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Dutch FA reveals attempted match-fixing in Eredivisie

The Dutch Football Association (KNVB) has announced that it has uncovered an attempt to fix a match in its top-tier Eredivisie domestic club competition seven years ago.

The sport’s national governing body said that in August 2009, Ibrahim Kargbo, then of Willem II Tilburg, attempted to fix a match against FC Utrecht in partnership with Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, who has been convicted of fraud on a number of occasions.

In a statement, the KNVB revealed it had found emails between the two that said Kargbo had promised he and two other Willem II players, including captain Michael Aerts, would each receive €25,000 ($27,880) if their team lost by more than a single goal.

Utrecht won the match 1-0 at home on August 9, 2009 and Perumal, who has been prosecuted and jailed in other countries due to match-fixing activities, refused to pay as the result did not go as he and former Sierra Leone international Kargbo had agreed.

Gijs de Jong, operational director at the KNVB, said “Dutch football is one of the last in Europe to lose its innocence in this matter. We have long warned this could happen in the Dutch league but it is still difficult to swallow now that this has been established. Hopefully it will add urgency in the Netherlands to the fight against this plague.”

De Jong added that there is “not enough legal evidence to determine whether Aerts was involved and it is unclear who the third person was”.

The KNVB also said that a benefit match between Willem II and the Sierra Leone national team, of which Kargbo was captain, was organised with the objective of manipulating the result for the benefit of an Asian betting syndicate. The organisation added that the results of other Sierra Leone games may have also been fixed by Kargbo.

Kargbo will no longer be able to participate in any capacity in Dutch football. The Reuters news agency said the 33-year-old has already been suspended in his native Sierra Leone for alleged match-fixing.

The KNVB also denied allegations made by a Dutch newspaper last year that a number of other Willem II matches had been fixed, ruling that such claims were not proven. The organisation added that will send the report to the Dutch police, as well as football’s European and global governing bodies Uefa and Fifa.