El Salvador suspends 22 players for match-fixing
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — El Salvador authorities raided the homes of 11 players on Thursday after the country’s football federation suspended 22 players in an investigation into alleged match-fixing in games by the national team, including against the United States and Mexico.
Public prosecutors said the raids took place in six different cities. Federal prosecutor Luis Martinez told Radio Nacional de El Salvador that computers, tablets and cell phones were among the items seized during the raids. He said authorities will also try to gain access to the bank accounts of those involved, both locally and abroad.
The prosecutor said there was already evidence of at least three offenses, including money laundering, and warned that not only players may be charged in the alleged match-fixing scheme.
“Possibly there are officials and some high-level people involved,” Martinez said. “We are going to get to the bottom of it.”
He said the investigation is separate from the one started by the local football federation, which on Wednesday said the players who participated in the suspect matches will be suspended for 30 days as the allegations are investigated.
“This is not a punishment, these are provisional, precautionary measures,” Federation President Carlos Mendez Cabezas said.
Mendez Cabezas said the games under scrutiny include El Salvador’s 5-0 Gold Cup loss to Mexico on July 5, 2011, as well as a 2-1 loss to the United States on Feb. 24, 2010, a 1-0 loss to D.C. United on July 19, 2010, and a 4-1 loss to Paraguay on Feb. 6, 2012.
He said FIFA has been notified so that the suspensions could be extended internationally. He also said El Salvador will play no more games until the probes into the matches are completed.
Martinez said he has already sought collaboration from authorities in other countries where match-fixing has taken place.
The suspended players are Luis Alonso Anaya, William Osael Romero, Ramon Alfredo Sanchez, Christian Castillo, Eliseo Quintanilla, Jose Miguel Granadino, Miguel Montes, Dagoberto Portillo, Rodolfo Zelaya, Víctor Turcios, Carlos Romeo Monteangudo, Dennis Alas, Jose Alfredo Pacheco, Marvin Gonzalez, Carlos Carrillo, Darwin Bonilla, Rodrigo Alejandro Martinez, Reynaldo Villeda, Ramon Flores, Benji Villalobos and Emerson Umana.