World Cup 2018: Referee Fahad Al Mirdasi ‘banned over match-fixing attempt in Saudi Arabia’

Saudi Arabia has banned referee Fahad Al Mirdasi from football for life for a match-fixing attempt, weeks before he was due to fly to Russia to officiate at the 2018 World Cup, the country’s football federation [SAFF] said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Al Mirdasi had confessed to offering to fix Saturday’s King’s Cup final on behalf of the Al Ittihad club, the SAFF said. It added that it had requested Fifa hand him a lifetime global ban as well as removing him from the World Cup list.

The 32-year-old referee made the approach to Al Ittihad chief Hamad Al-Senaie, who immediately handed over the WhatsApp messages to SAFF officials who in turn alerted the relevant government authorities, SAFF said.

Fifa 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),” the world governing body told journalist.

The SAFF added that Al Mirdasi, who has been a Fifa referee since 2011, admitted soliciting the corrupt payment after being taken into police custody.

British former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg – who became Saudi Arabia’s head of referees in February 2017 – replaced Al Mirdasi for Saturday’s King’s Cup final, which Al Ittihad won 3-1 after extra time.

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