FIFA on Wednesday ordered that a World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Senegal be replayed after the referee was found guilty of match manipulation and banned for life.
South Africa beat Senegal 2-1 in the qualifier last November, helped by a penalty awarded by Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey for a non-existent handball.
That result will be annulled and the game will be replayed this November, FIFA said, after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the life ban for Lamptey.
FIFA found Lamptey guilty of breaching the rule relating to “unlawfully influencing match results” and banned him for life in March. The referee failed with appeals to FIFA’s appeal committee and now to CAS.
Lamptey awarded a penalty against Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly in the game in Polokwane, South Africa, when replays clearly showed the ball struck Koulibaly’s knee and then dropped to the ground.
South Africa scored the 42nd-minute penalty and went on to win - its only victory so far in the final round of qualifying in Africa.
Full details of Lamptey’s case have not yet been published and it hasn’t been confirmed if a betting scam was the reason suspected for Lamptey’s decision to award the penalty late in the first half.
A penalty awarded late in a scoreless first half could raise suspicion by potentially triggering bets relating to the state of the game and goals scored at halftime.
Lamptey joined FIFA’s list of international referees in 2005 but was never selected for a World Cup. He did officiate matches at the 2015 African Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.
The Ghanaian referee has a history of suspicious performances.
He was previously suspended by the Confederation of African Football for allowing a critical goal to stand in an African Champions League semifinal in 2010 when it was clearly punched into the net.
His antics in an African Cup of Nations qualifier last year also were suspect. He allowed the game between Congo and Angola to continue for two minutes longer than the injury time displayed before awarding a disputed penalty to Angola. He blew for full time straight after Angola scored from the spot.
Africa, and South Africa, have fallen victim to referees manipulating games before.
FIFA believes that at least one of the South African national team’s friendly games in the weeks ahead of the continent’s first World Cup in 2010 was fixed by the referee.
FIFA hasn’t identified the game or games in question, but South Africa’s 2-1 win over Colombia and 5-0 win over Guatemala a couple of weeks before the opening of the World Cup are under suspicion. All three goals in the South Africa-Colombia game came through penalty kicks. There was a collection of bizarre refereeing decisions in the South Africa-Guatemala game.
It’s believed the referees were acting on the instructions of renowned Singaporean match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal.
FIFA said the South Africa-Senegal World Cup qualifier will be replayed in the November international window, with the exact date yet to be decided.
A different result could have a big impact on the South Africa-Senegal group. Senegal trails joint-leaders Burkina Faso and Cape Verde by a point but now has three qualifiers left instead of two.
With its victory in Polokwane scratched out, South Africa drops to one point from three games.