Monday, 14 May 2018

Saudi referee Fahad Al Mirdasi under investigation - World Cup participation in doubt?

World Cup participation for the Saudi seems to be now in danger, following some news. We still wait for official confirmations, but we want to inform you about the main issue. 

According to several sources, Fahad Al Mirdasi had been appointed as main referee for Saudi King's Cup Final. After that, he was removed and replaced by Mark Clattenburg. Saudi football federation has communicated that the referee is under investigation. For this reason, his participation to 2018 World Cup seems to be in danger.

Al Mirdasi, despite of his young age, has already a quite significant experience as FIFA referee in important tournaments. He officiated at 2015 FIFA Under 20 World Cup in New Zealand, culminating in the final appointment between Serbia and Brazil. One year later, he was called for Olympic tournament in Brazil. Then, one year ago he was in Russia for Confederations Cup.

He has been selected very likely as main referee for WC, along with Mohammed Al Abakry and Abdulah Al Shalwai as assistant referees from the same country in the same trio. 

Without adding speculations, the only thing we can do is to wait for official statements by FIFA.

76 comments:

  1. I remember this guy from Serbia-Brasil WC U20 final, where I first saw him. He did very good, and especially his AR2 in that match (don't know who it was - crucial, extremely tight but correct no offside decision prior Serbia's winning goal in 118'). But in Russia there were some controversies with Al Mirdasi. I remember he was so nervous, bad management, no authority on the pitch and big problems with VAR. I just didn't like him in that match.
    Hope that those are only rumors, and that he didn't do that for he is accused.

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  2. Unfortunately, he was suspended for life on Monday by the Saudi federation and will not go to Russia.

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    1. No official confirmation as of now!!

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    2. @Arbitrez Vous may I ask where to find the full appointment for this evening game Le Havre - Brest (Ligue 2 play off for Ligue 1 qualification). I didn't find it. Thanks in advance.

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    3. Referee: Benoît Millot (FIFA)
      Assistant Referee 1: Julien Pacelli (FIFA)
      Assistant Referee 2: Stephan Luzi
      Fourth Official: Thomas Léonard

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    4. exact....RayHD was faster than me :)

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    5. The full appointment for the second Play off of Ligue 2 AC AJACCIO / THE HAVRE is the following :

      18 May 2018 - 20:45

      Referee: Frank Schneider (FIFA)
      Assistant Referee 1: Djemel Zitouni
      Assistant Referee 2: Nicolas Henninot
      Fourth Official: Alexandre Castro

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    6. @ArbitrezVous
      What happened to Alexandre Castro?
      I remember he was quite a top referee in Ligue 1, but then he officiated too many controversial matches, and his marks meant he was relegated, and this is the first time I read his name since years?

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    7. Alexandre CASTRO was relegated to Ligue 2 two years ago. Indeed, he was very poorly scored in his last match of Ligue 1. He was however elected best referee of LIgue 2 by his peers this year.

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  3. Fahad Al-Mirdasi was appointed for an AFC Champions League match Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors v Buriram United to be played at Jeonju today... As of now, the AFC website still shows him as the referee of the match and no change or replacement has been announced yet... I'm expecting a change in the appointment, since Al-Mirdasi is under investigation at the moment!!

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    1. This match is planned for 12:00 CET. I will check which referee wiill be there, so far Al Mirdasi name is still confirmed...

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    2. Nawaf Shukralla replaced Al-Mirdasi for the match!!

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  4. I don't really follow AFC in a big way, but I'll try to make a retrospect of his career (so far).

    Maybe you can remember Khalil Al-Ghamdi, he attended WC 2010, infamous for being the strictest referee maybe at such a level in the world. He didn't deserve to attend WC 2014 so Saudi Arabia needed a new top referee.
    As I remember Al-Midarsi was voted SAFF Referee of the Year in 2009ish, anyway surely someone perceived the talent of this young man, to be a top referee.

    He was no-name referee that attended Asian Cup 2015, and his first match was Jordan - Iraq, combative match but a very impressive performance by young Al-Midarsi (I would dare to say this match was the thesis for his career, otherwise he wouldn't be on the list for WC 2018). He eventually got a Quarterfinal, and surely impressed not only AFC but Mr Busacca.

    He got to attend U20 WC, and I would be lieing to say I watched any of the matches, but of course he got the final and his performance was reported as a good one. At this point I got the feeling that the Saudi was 'personal project' for Mr Busacca, as he really believed in his talent to be one of the best referees in the world, but also that he was a 'raw' talent that needed refining.

    Having only got two relatively minor matches at Rio 2016, he got the ticket to Confederations Cup. I was surprised to read his name, he was comfortably the least experienced of the nine trios. It all went a bit wrong, many mistakes, he didn't arouse respect and conveyed a very nervous impression. It was in other words, a disaster.

    But it seems Mr Busacca was convinced in his talent enough to ignore the impressions in Russia, and send him to WC 2018 as main referee.

    Maybe this is unrelated by he has an Instagram account that I follow. It is very peculiar for me (from England) to see, but he is treated like almost a celebrity in KSA, after matches he gives children signed yellow and red cards eg, well at least he is a source of national pride it seems (like Mazic?). One can wonder whether that impression helped him to lose the overview and the bigger picture.

    It was very sad if his career ends in ignominy, and quite honestly a total scandal...

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  5. Hello!
    Who knows referee for this match ?

    15/05/2018 Saudi Arabia - Greece

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    1. CARLOS DEL CERRO GRANDE
      JUAN CARLOS YUSTE JIMÉNEZ
      ROBERTO ALONSO FERNÁNDEZ
      JESÚS GIL MANZANO

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  6. If this news is true, I expect at least 1 resignation from FIFA. The World Cup has been humiliated.

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    1. What would be FIFA fault? Can they control directly people?
      That's not possible. Everything can always happen. You can rely on somebody and then a day... what you don't expect, happens. That's my opinion and of course we are talking about something still to be confirmed.

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    2. The accusation is too severe for a WC referee. Perhaps FIFA should take a look on their selection process.

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    3. Under this point of view, you are surely right. All the selected officials, after a so long process, are expected to be the best of the world, without any chance of being accused of corruption. But in my opinion the individual attitude plays always the most significant role, and you can't assure that somebody will be always 100% reliable.
      Very difficult situation, I wouldn't like to be in such trouble.

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    4. We're only waiting for FIFA to confirm news. Every news are saying that he is not going to WC and got life BAN.

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  7. AFC Champions League game Jeonbuk Motors - Buriram United, originally planned for Al Mirdasi, will be officiated by Nawaf Shukralla.
    This is the confirmation that the Saudi is suspended.

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  8. Friendlies

    30 May 2018

    20:45 CET - Innsbruck
    AUSTRIA - RUSSIA
    Referee: Bas Nijhuis (NED)
    Assistant Referee 1: Mario Diks (NED)
    Assistant Referee 2: Hessel Steegstra (NED)
    Fourth Official: Kevin Blom (NED)

    2 June 2018

    18:00 CET - Klagenfurt
    AUSTRIA - GERMANY
    Referee: Pavel Královec (CZE)
    Assistant Referee 1: Ivo Nádvorník (CZE)
    Assistant Referee 2: Kamil Hájek (CZE)
    Fourth Official: Petr Ardeleánu (CZE)

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  9. OT

    Serbian referee Srdjan Obradovic got arested and will be prosecuted for abuse of office.

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    1. Well, I wonder whether one can act in this blatant way.
      Everything seems to be absurd, but what about Serbian committee who was still appointing him? Can you find an explanation?

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    2. Only 2 referees wasnt appointed that week, when Mazic got replaced only 2 names was on the list for this match. For me it would be much better to swap Srdjan Jovanovic there and this one to get his match but who knows what would happen there.

      What i heard is that committee gonna be REFORMED and there will be BIG changes in referee lists..

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    3. https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2018/05/15/sports/soccer/15reuters-soccer-serbia-referee-arrest.html

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  10. I just don't understand how a referee with the brightest future ahead can blow his career up in such a way... He had some 4 World Cup opportunities to aim at owing to his young age, could have done numerous games and had every opportunity to become the greatest referee from Asia as well... So much of possibility ahead but someone chooses to end a promising career with such a massive scandal bringing shame to the refereeing community and football as a whole... This episode is also not good for the World Cup as every headline stresses the fact that is a World Cup involved in corruption... As a referee myself and as an Asian today I feel hurt, disappointed and humiliated!!

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    1. Money changes people. But what you said why would anyone ruin his career coz of one game? Like he is not getting any payment and wont get big payments on WC, i dont understand it neither..

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    2. Obviously he thought he will get away with the corrupt approach and nobody will ever know... God knows how many more games he has manipulated in the past, maybe he has always been doing it!!

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    3. I dont want to be advocate of Al Midrasi here and if he is guilty he should be banned. But lets not forget we are talking about Saudi Arabia here. So dont be quick to jump to conclusions that he did do it if Saudi officials say so. We all know what kind of country it is and how politics works there. If someone from royal family doesnt like him or has something against him, they can very easily frame him for what ever they want in order to destroy his career.

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  11. As I said in the other thread where this topic came up...

    Saudi referees get paid VERY well. Also he's set to get 70,000 CHF for attending Russia.

    There's something fishy going on here. Maybe al-Mirdasi is guilty. But let's not forget Saudi Arabia is a theocratic monarchy where the citizens only have the rights that the King allows. If the royal house had a problem with al-Mirdasi (let's say, for example, some of the princes that own one of the teams do not like his calls), it's very easy to theorize how they would conspire to smear him and make sure he isn't at the World Cup. Things are not always as they seem in Saudi Arabia.

    Or, he could be guilty. We don't know. But rushing to judgment given the "evidence" available and the source of that evidence is foolish.

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    1. That's why I'm reluctant to believe, at the same time we don't have detailed news about the facts. It is better to avoid such statements, we only know that he is suspended and under investigation at moment. Something should follow.
      But in my opinion a referee, ready to go to WC, would never make something like that. Money question? As you stated, at WC he will earn more than remarkable amounts.
      So, it seems as there isn't a logic for sure.
      I tend to be always doubtful. Let's wait.

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    2. At least as I understood it Al-Midarsi ASKED explicitly for a bribe from a club, rather than accepted one that was offered to him.
      I have to say, somehow that is very hard to believe...

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  12. Official statement from the Saudi football federation saying that Fahad Al-Mirdasi has been banned for life.

    The incident is that Fahad, the assigned referee of the cup final, contacted Al-Ittihad’s club chairman through Whatsapp and asked for money in order to help them win.

    The chairman, with the proof of the whatsapp chat, reported the issue.

    They also in the statement asked to contact FIFA to remove his name from the World cup and ban him for life.

    https://twitter.com/saudiff/status/996507652615229441?s=21

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  13. Oh and I forgot to mention something very important in the statement.

    It says that Fahad Al-Mirdasi confessed and admitted he asked for a bribe!

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    1. Btw, I’m not from Saudi Arabia. I’m from Kuwait.

      But I strongly agree with some of the previous comments saying that it is really hard to believe. And if any Saudi prince didn’t like him, they could’ve easily framed him.

      + I don’t think whatsapp chat can be enough!!

      But the fact that the statement says he admitted the incident is a shock!

      Again, I’m not buying it. They can write whatever they want in Saudi Arabia and no one will talk to them.

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    2. Well, he has confessed it himself and for now that should put to rest all other conspiracy theories!!

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    3. I fear whatever happened, SAFF have won, it is now de facto impossible to appoint Al-Midarsi in Russia.

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    4. Well, the refereeing disaster started even before the World Cup 2018. Waiting for the games and the use of VAR...

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    5. To be honest, it looks like Saudi federation has done everything so far, without any official intervention / statement by FIFA. It is again, let me say, more than weird. Circumstances are really particular. I still don't know what to think.

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    6. If the allegations are true which as of now seems the case, Al-Mirdasi indeed deserves to be banned for life and also other severe penalties imposed for bringing the game into disrepute by trying to fix games in exchange of payments... He has disgraced all of us in Asia!!

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    7. Chefren, do you really expect FIFA to release any statement? Most likely they will publish a change on the list of referees and the statement will be released many months after the World Cup, to avoid bigger media attention.

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    8. Also I remember that @RayHD reported it, Clattenburg (or maybe above him?) didn't appoint Al-Mirdasi for months in Saudi Pro League, and it needed a direct intervention by FIFA.
      Very curious...

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    9. Yeah, FIFA asked them to appoint Al-Mirdasi if they want him to go to the WC. Earlier, for many months, only foreign referees handled games in Saudi Pro League.

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    10. Maybe Clattenburg and the higher authorities were suspicious of the local referees being involved in corrupt practices but did not have solid proof?? Might be they brought in more and more foreign officials for this reason?

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    11. That would be a logical argument, Soham.

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    12. The ability for people to accept spoon-fed information from official Saudi sources is staggering.

      I'll say again, yes, he could be guilty.

      But when someone writes that he's "confessed himself" and that should put to rest all "conspiracy theories," I'm baffled. Who has said he has confessed? The Saudi authorities. Have you seen any independent confirmation of this confession? No. In fact, we saw a retraction of the Reuters story since news of the confession was published.

      Also, yes, FIFA had to tell Clattenburg to appoint al-Mirdasi. To immediately infer that the Saudi authorities already had suspicions about match-fixing is to determine the answer to a question before it is even asked. What if the sole goal of the Saudi authorities was to slander al-Mirdasi or to punish him for earlier decisions? Prior to accusing him of match-fixing, they would restrict his assignments.

      Things are not always as they seem in Saudi Arabia. al-Mirdasi might be guilty. He also might be the victim of a witch hunt from a vindictive regime that does not guarantee any personal rights. We don't know the answer yet.

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    13. I fully agree @usaref!
      My idea that this is plan by SAFF since months even years, and they asked Clattenburg not to appoint him (they pay him 500 000 pounds a year so you'd do what they say), but it seems they found the cruelest moment for them to 'kill' him.
      At least it was a very odd circumstance, but I say it again, I think SAFF have won in any case, it is impossible to imagine Al-Midarsi refereeing a WC match, his name is world news for being a 'corrupt' referee.

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    14. Exactly. He might be guilty, he might not be. But either way his reputation is smeared to the point that FIFA really only has one choice unless they can PROVE he's innocent in 2 weeks, which seems impossible. The timing of all this makes me lean toward the likelihood it is a smear, but I just don't know the answer to that. And neither does anyone posting here.

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    15. @usaref What I stated were just predicting possible reasons and nothing more... I know as much as anyone else here and that's why I used the words 'might', 'probably' etc

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    16. And in case Al-Mirdasi really did it which as per the official information conveyed is the case, that has been extremely stupid of him and he has destroyed his own career... What he is accused of doing is a corrupt activity and nothing short of a life ban is the right punishment to show zero tolerance to such activities!! In this case, I choose to comment on what is officially released and not what 2 or 3 people on social media are speculating as a smear... Very much possible that scenario but I choose not to comment on it, that's it!!

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    17. Soham we are talking about Saudi Arabia here. Not about Germany or Sweden or Australia where there is due process. We are talking about one of biggest dictatorship countries today. There it does not matter if you are right or wrong. The only thing that matters is does the royal family likes you or not. And it is not conspiracy theory, it is something that whole world knows.

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    18. To add. I agree. If he is guilty, this is the minimal punishment and even more should follow. But currently i look on Al Mirdasi as a victim not as felon

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  14. Fifa has requested more information.

    "Fifa notes the information that referee Fahad Al Mirdasi has allegedly been banned from all football-related activities by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF)," the world governing body told BBC Sport.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/44136512

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    1. FIFA doesn't know anything about the details, I guess.
      Saudi federation is doing everything there.
      Is that normal? I don't think so.

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    2. Yes it is normal, Chefren... The scandal is related to a Saudi Arabian match and the complete responsibility is with the Saudi Arabian federation authorities to investigate and sanction him... FIFA directly has nothing to do with the particular match... Al-Mirdasi being given a life ban by Saudi federation directly means he won't be anyway continuing as a FIFA official so Al-Mirdasi's career will be over at all levels!!

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    3. Soham, your lack of critical thinking is dangerous.

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    4. See, what information we are given currently, I can't advocate for Al-Mirdasi here in any way... Unless there is any further official information or proof that shows Al-Mirdasi as not guilty, my impression will remain that he is a corrupt official based on the official information conveyed by SAFF till now... Other than that I won't be into speculations of smear etc in the name of 'critical thinking'!!

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    5. That's a baffling a response. Utterly baffling.

      You will accept the SAFF information as accurate until proven otherwise. Even though FIFA has not yet accepted the information and Reuters retracted a story. And even though you haven't heard from al-Mirdasi or from any independent investigator or analyst.

      You are essentially saying al-Mirdasi is guilty until proven innocent and doing so based on no evidence other than the say of the Saudi government. That is a lack of critical thinking.

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    6. I prefer to wait and see a bit more before going down that route! :)

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    7. FIFA? Oh those oh so honorable and incorruptible people based in Switzerland. Yeah keep waiting for a response from those Angelic beings. And keep believing that the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup's were clean and fair.

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  15. But will Fahad Al Mirdasi be replaced by some other triad? or will there be only one triad less? I have read that he has been disbarred and that therefore he does not participate in the World Cup

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    1. My guess is one of Ryuji Sato or Mohammed Abdulla Hasan will take his place as main referee on the pitch... Ryuji Sato it should be!!

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    2. I would prefer an UEFA referee.

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    3. There are none on standby, all 10 selected will act as main referees... It should a like for like replacement and Sato should be the man... Plus I always have been saying that it should anyway have been Sato as a main referee from AFC instead of Al-Mirdasi in the first place... Sato is anyway miles ahead of Al-Mirdasi in every aspect be it general decision making, personality or man management!!

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    4. It doesn't need to replace Al Mirdasi. 35 referees + 13 VAR are more than enough

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    5. Given the VAR process, the selected officials should be a close group. The only option is to promote a reserve referee as main referee. Otherwise, as remote alternative, an official from a nation in which VAR is already used, should be called. But he must be very experienced in that. Let's remember how many seminars FIFA organized...

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  16. That could be Mark Clatts'game in order to be appointed an English referee with that speed of judjing.

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    1. No! Mark Clattenburg is not a FIFA referee anymore and he won't be eligible for selection... And any other English referee would also not come in at this stage!!

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    2. nono You don't get it, but as I said it's only a possibility, having in mind the sign of a guilt by UEFA committee, but for mr Mark's is clear.

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  17. Also, to get a lifetime ban, the process shouldn't be so short. Even though a clear evidence exists, a certain time is always needed. You can't solve everything in a few days and then draw the conclusion that you wont be able to handle games forever.
    Many things should be for sure known more in details.
    I'm really in trouble regarding this question.
    It seems as we are forced to believe all what Saudi federation stated, but nothing else...

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    1. If it is true that Al-Mirdasi has himself admitted about taking the bribe, then there is nothing to wait for and it's a life ban... Now whether he has been forced to admit it and all that is a separate question... But in case he has really admitted about taking the bribe, then the life ban is a no brainer!!

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    2. Soham, one can be forced to admit something. Especially in SA.

      The fact FIFA did not react yet, means there is not so much evidence yet.

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    3. I'm always saying that may be a possibility!

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    4. So you're waiting for a reply from the oh so honorable and non corruption riddled FIFA? Yeah, like FIFA doesn't have "dirty laundry" that has yet to be exposed. FIFA as an organization punishing somebody for corruption is the ultimate form of hypocrisy.

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