Saudi Arabia bans World Cup referee for life over bribery, petitions Federation Internationale de Football Association

Jose Verdugo
May 16, 2018

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 World Cup, the country's football federation (SAFF) said in a statement late on Tuesday.

SAFF has already banned Al Mirdasi for life after he asked for bribe to influence the outcome of a match.

The 32-year-old is one of Saudi Arabia's most prominent referees, having earned a FIFA badge in 2011 and officiating at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 and the Confederations Cup in Russian Federation in 2017.

A statement from the SAFF Ethics Committee said that Al-Mirdasi was subsequently taken into police custody where he confessed to soliciting a corrupt payment.

"FIFA has requested more information from the SAFF before making any further comments".

Denied from participating in any football-related activity for life, the SAFF has also called on FIFA to withdraw Al Mirdasi from next month's World Cup, while approving his life ban on an global level.

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It now emerges that he confessed to offering to fix Saturday's King's Cup final on behalf of Al Ittihad club, according to the Saudi FA which added that it had requested Federation Internationale de Football Association to confirm the lifetime global ban as well as removing him from the World Cup list.

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

"He confirmed that he had evidence which highlights Al Mirdasi offering help for money".

"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".

If the Riyadh native had officiated in Russian Federation this summer, it would have been his first time at the World Cup.

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