Saudi Arabia suspend World Cup referee over bribery

A file photo of Saudi referee Fahad Al-Mirdasi (Karim Jaafar/AFP)
Updated 16 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia suspend World Cup referee over bribery

  • Mirdasi was suspended for offering to take a bribe to influence the outcome of a match, the federation’s disciplinary and ethics committee said
  • He 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 Russia in 2017

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Football Federation have banned referee Fahad Al-Mirdasi for life over bribery and urged FIFA to remove him from the pool of referees for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Mirdasi was suspended for offering to take a bribe to influence the outcome of a match, the federation’s disciplinary and ethics committee said late Tuesday.
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 Russia in 2017.
Mirdasi was chosen to referee Saudi Arabia’s Kings Cup final between top clubs Al-Faisaly and Al-Ittihad on Saturday but was pulled from the roster just a few hours before the game.
In a statement, the disciplinary and ethics committee said Mirdasi had approached the president of Al-Ittihad asking him for a bribe to enable his team to win.
“The Ittihad president Hamad Al-Sanayeh called the Saudi Football Federation to state there was evidence that Fahad Al-Mirdasi had reached out via text messages on WhatsApp. He asked for an illegal sum of money in exchange for helping his team win the game,” it said.
The case was referred to the Saudi Football Federation, then the General Authority for Sport — the highest sports authority in the kingdom — triggering an administrative investigation.
Mirdasi confessed to the charges, according to the statement, and it was decided “to deprive him from participating in any football activity for life.”
The committee recommended that Saudi Arabia officially request FIFA to remove Mirdasi from the list of referees participating in the 2018 World Cup and suspend him for life.
Mirdasi was one of five Arab referees chosen by FIFA to officiate at the 2018 World Cup.

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.


Pakistan rides pacer Abbas to test series win over Australia

Updated 19 October 2018
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Pakistan rides pacer Abbas to test series win over Australia

  • Australia was bowled out for 164 after lunch on the fourth day after given an improbable winning target of 538
  • Right-arm seamer Mohammad Abbas grabbed a match haul of 10-95

ABU DHABI: Seamer Mohammad Abbas grabbed a match haul of 10-95 as Pakistan recorded an emphatic 373-run victory over Australia in the second test to clinch the series 1-0 on Friday.
Australia was bowled out for 164 after lunch on the fourth day after given an improbable winning target of 538.
Usman Khawaja, whose herculean century helped Australia salvage a draw in the first test, couldn’t bat in the second innings after tearing a left knee cartilage in the warmup on Thursday.
Australia sorely missed Khawaja-like grit from any of its batsmen on Friday.
Abbas, on a slow turning pitch, again jolted the top order with four quick wickets in the first hour on day four. The right-arm seamer then had top scorer Marnus Labuschagne caught behind for 43 after lunch to finish with 5-62 to go along with his first innings effort of 5-33.
Legspinner Yasir Shah ran through the tailenders with 3-45, finishing off the match by having Jon Holland caught in the slips on 3.
Looking to hold out for more than two days for a draw, Australia began the day on 47-1.
Travis Head (36) and Aaron Finch (31) stretched their second-wicket stand to 61 runs before Abbas struck four blows in a high-class exhibition of seam and swing bowling.
Head edged to substitute wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, standing in after captain Sarfraz Ahmed went to hospital for precautionary scans when he woke up on Friday and complained of headaches.
Abbas then had Mitchell Marsh lbw on 5 when Pakistan successfully went for a video referral against umpire Richard Illingworth’s not out decision.
Pakistan stand-in captain Asad Shafiq outsmarted Finch’s tactic of standing well outside his crease while facing Abbas, by making Rizwan stand close to the stumps, forcing the batsman inside the crease. The switch paid off as Abbas trapped Finch lbw.
Two balls later, captain Tim Paine was out without scoring while trying to leave a ball that nipped back enough and knocked over the off stump.
Shah then had Mitchell Starc (28) and Peter Siddle (3) both leg before wicket. Siddle could have survived but chose not to go for a video referral as the replays suggested the ball pitched outside leg stump.
Labuschagne shared the best partnership of the innings by adding 67 runs with Starc for the sixth wicket before Abbas returned after lunch and had him caught behind off a short-pitched delivery.