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Banned for life

Guillermo Ramirez

GUATEMALA CITY – The scourge of match-fixing has reached the CONCACAF region.

Two of Guatemala’s most celebrated players have been banned from world football for life by FIFA for helping fix international friendlies and a CONCACAF Champions League match.

The disgraced players are Guillermo Ramirez and Gustavo Cabrera – who both played 100 times for Guatemala, including in 2014 World Cup Qualifiers, and had captained the team.

FIFA said last night that Ramirez and Cabrera and a third national team player, Yoni Flores, were “banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity, for life”.

The players were involved in fixing Guatemala’s 2-0 home defeat against Venezuela in June 2011 and a 3-2 loss in Costa Rica in May 2012.

FIFA said the charges also included a CONCACAF Champions League group stage match between Guatemalan club CSD Municipal and Santos Laguna of Mexico on October 19, 2010. Santos won 6-1.

FIFA has extended the bans globally after they were imposed nationally last month by the Guatemala Football Association.

Ramirez is a 34-year-old midfielder, Cabrera is a 32-year-old defender and Flores is a 29-year-old defender.

FIFA did not detail how the players were involved in fixing matches.

Earlier in the investigation, FIFA also studied a fourth suspicious match – Guatemala’s 5-0 defeat against 2010 World Cup host South Africa in a friendly played in Polokwane two weeks before the tournament kicked off.

That match was refereed by Niger official Ibrahim Chaibou, who has been linked with several match-fixing probes in which goals were scored from penalties for dubious handball offences.

FIFA investigators have been unable to meet Chaibou for questioning.

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