Saudi Arabia bans World Cup football referee for life over bribery
The Saudi Football Federation (SFF) said Wednesday it had banned for life a referee, selected to officiate at the World Cup in Russia, for soliciting a bribe from a local club.
Fahad Al Mirdasi requested a bribe from Al Ittihad in the King’s Cup final, one of the country’s most prestigious competitions.
Al Ittihad chief Hamad Al Senaie reported to the Saudi federation that Al Mirdasi had contacted him via WhatsApp and requested money in order to help the team win the game against Al Faisaly, the SFF said.
Al Mirdasi confessed to having requested the bribe, the SFF’s Discipline and Ethics Committee said in an online statement.
The committee banned him for life and recommended that the 32-year-old referee be suspended from participating in June and July’s World Cup in Russia and other international events.
There has so far been no word from world governing body FIFA, who last week said the case was for the Saudis to deal with.
Al Mirdasi was one of five Arab referees picked by FIFA for the World Cup. He officiated at the Confederations Cup last year.
On Saturday, the SFF announced that Al Mirdasi would not officiate the King’s Cup, hours before the fixture was held in the presence of King Salman. Al Ittihad claimed the title with a 3-1 win over Al Faisaly.
In November, dozens of Saudi royals, state officials and businessmen were rounded up for alleged corruption in an unprecedented clampdown in the oil-rich kingdom.
The arrests were made on the orders of an anti-corruption committee led by powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.