Bound Saudi referee given red card following bribery charges

Saudi referee Fahad al Mirdasi has been banned for life for offering to take a bribe to influence the outcome of a match

In a statement, Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) said the official had attempted to fix a match and, therefore, he has been banned from football for life.

A World Cup-bound Saudi referee chosen by Federation Internationale de Football Association has been banned for life at home for a matchfixing attempt just days before he was due to fly to Russia.

The 32-year-old referee made the approach to Al Ittihad chief Hamad Al-Senaie, who immediately handed over the WhatsApp messages to SAFF officials who in turn alerted the relevant government authorities, SAFF said.

British former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg - who became Saudi Arabia's head of referees in February 2017 - replaced Al Mirdasi for Saturday's King's Cup final, which Al Ittihad won 3-1 after extra time. "He asked for an illegal sum of money in exchange for helping his team win the game", it said.

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 Saudi referee who is due to officiate at this summer's World Cup in Russia has been banned for life by the Saudi Football Federation following after reportedly admitting to bribery.

With this evidence, the case was officially passed on to the SAFF and later forwarded to the General Authority for Sports (the Kingdom's highest authority for Sports), this elicited an investigation administratively.

Mirdasi confessed to the charges, according to the statement, and it was decided "to deprive him from participating in any football activity for life".

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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