FIFA probing suspicious betting

Updated: June 18, 2011, 8:17 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

An unusual betting pattern has sparked a FIFA match-fixing investigation into the Nigeria-Argentina exhibition on June 1, and a German magazine reported that three CONCACAF Gold Cup matches are also being examined.

Der Spiegel reported Saturday that three unidentified CONCACAF Gold Cup matches are under scrutiny because of suspicious betting patterns in Asia. The bets were made on high-scoring games, and two of the matches ended 5-0, with the other finishing 4-0.

Mexico beat El Salvador and Cuba 5-0 while Costa Rica also beat Cuba by that score. Two games, Jamaica and Guatemala's wins against Grenada, finished 4-0.

In the case of the Nigeria-Argentina exhibition, FIFA issued a statement saying the match, which Nigeria won 4-1, was "one that we had an active interest in, and forms part of a wider ongoing FIFA investigation."

A representative of online betting firm SmartOdds told the Daily Telegraph that, during the final 10 minutes of the match possibly more than 1,000,000 ($1,619,300) was bet that another goal would be scored. Argentina converted a penalty kick in the 98th minute after referee Ibrahim Chuaibu of Nigeria had originally signaled for five added minutes.

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