Federation Internationale de Football Association bans Saudi referee for life over match-fixing bid

EUGENIO SAVIO  AP 
 
   Saudi referee Fahad Al Mirdasi in action during the 2016 Olympic Games match between Germany and Fiji

EUGENIO SAVIO AP Saudi referee Fahad Al Mirdasi in action during the 2016 Olympic Games match between Germany and Fiji

Saudi Arabia have banned a referee for life for a match-fixing attempt, weeks before he had been due to fly to Russian Federation to officiate at the football World Cup.

Mirdasi eventually confessed to soliciting Sanayeh for money to influence the outcome of the match, which resulted in the Saudi star being given a lifetime ban.

Al Mirdasi was among the referees for last year's Confederations Cup in Russian Federation, where he oversaw the third-place match between Mexico and Portugal, having also officiated at the 2016 Olympic Games.

"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", a SAFF statement read.

He was replaced overseeing the King's Cup final by Mark Clattenburg, who was set to be selected for the World Cup before leaving England past year to take a job heading refereeing in Saudi Arabia.

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In a statement, the disciplinary and ethics committee said Mirdasi had approached the president of Al-Ittihad asking him for a bribe to enable his team to win.

Referee Fahad Al-Mirdasi was listed among FIFA World Cup 2018 officials. "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".

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg, who became the head of referees in Saudi Arabia in February 2017, replaced Al Mirdasi for Saturday's final, which saw Al Ittihad win 3-1 after extra time.

The 32-year-old is one of Saudi Arabia's most prominent referees and one of five Arab referees chosen by Federation Internationale de Football Association to officiate at the 2018 World Cup tournament in Russia.

He was one of five Arab referees chosen to officiate in the 2018 World Cup.

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