KNVB confirms attempted match-fixing in Eredivisie
The Dutch Football Association's (KNVB) Integrity Unit has confirmed there was an attempt to fix the outcome of the Eredivisie match between Willem II and Utrecht in 2009.
The KNVB investigation claims former Willem II defender and Sierra Leone international Ibrahim Kargbo had an agreement with convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal to influence the outcome of the top-flight encounter seven years ago.
The probe also revealed Kargbo and Perumal organised a testimonial between Willem II and Sierra Leone with the aim of manipulating the match for gambling reasons, and made arrangements to influence the outcome of further Sierra Leone matches.
Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant had also cast doubt over the games between Willem II and Feyenoord and Willem II and Ajax in 2009-10, but the KNVB did not find any proof those games were manipulated.
Kargbo made over 100 appearances for Willem II between 2006 and 2010 and won more than 30 caps for Sierra Leone.
"E-mail conversations between Kargbo and Perumal have shown that they agreed to influence the result of the match between Utrecht and Willem II," read a statement on the KNVB website.
"Kargbo claimed that Willem II's captain at the time, goalkeeper Maikel Aerts, and a third player would co-operate. Perumal would pay them EUR25,000 each for fixing the game.
"Despite Utrecht's win as per their agreement, Perumal would later claim the fix had failed because Utrecht needed to win by a bigger margin. There are no doubts that both parties had agreed to fix the outcome of the game, though.
"There is not enough evidence to confirm whether Aerts was indeed involved and there is no clarity as to who the third person was.
"The testimonial between Willem II and Sierra Leona took place on November 14, 2009. Perumal was involved in the organisation of the game through his company Football 4U. Although there is not enough evidence to confirm the result was effectively manipulated, the Integrity Unit has concluded the game was organised with the aim of being manipulated.
"There is also proof that Kargbo and Perumal had contact over a prolonged period of time to manipulate the outcome of games of Sierra Leone's national team."
Willem II general director Berry van Gool has voiced his shock at the outcome of the investigation, but is satisfied there will be no ramifications for the club.
"This news is quite dramatic for Willem II, our fans and in particular for the players, coaches and employees who were part of Willem II at the time," Van Gool commented.
"Plus the outcome of this investigation is bad for football in general.
"The club is not responsible for the actions of individuals like this, so there will not be consequences for us. So there is some relief that the club does not get hit with any sanctions."
The KNVB has shared its findings with UEFA, FIFA and the Dutch public prosecutor, which has launched a criminal investigation into the matter.