El Salvador’s national football team claims it has been offered a bribe to fix the outcome of Tuesday’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier against Canada.
Members of the squad played an audio recording of the alleged bribe during a news conference on Monday afternoon ahead of the game in Vancouver.
The Salvador Football Federation confirmed the news on its Facebook page, posting a video and releasing the following statement: “Players from the national football team revealed this Monday afternoon in a news conference a recording of a Salvador businessman Ricardo Padilla offering them prizes to win, draw or even lose against their Canada counterparts”.
The news conference took place while in the team’s camp in Vancouver, Canada, where La Selecta is preparing for their game against their North American opponents.
“According to Padilla, he is acting in representation of a Honduras millionaire that wanted to guarantee the qualification of the Catracha (Honduras) national team.”
Mexico leads Group A and have already secured a berth in the next round of qualifiers, while Honduras are second in the standings, three points clear of third place Canada.
Canada needs to beat El Salvador in Vancouver by at least five goals and hope Honduras loses to Mexico in the final round of Group A matches in order for Canada to overtake Honduras and advance beyond Group A.
El Salvador is at the bottom of the group, garnering two points after five games and cannot progress regardless of tonight’s outcomes. For a country with a FIFA world ranking of 137 and playing for nothing but pride going into tonight’s match against Canada, El Salvador showed the world integrity by stepping forward and taking these allegations public. If confirmed, this demonstrates that even after their initial steps to root out corruption from within, FIFA has a long way to go to re-establish integrity on the world stage. Let’s not forget that these games determine which countries compete for the World Cup in 2018.