Footage emerged from Tuesday night’s World Cup qualification game between Peru and Colombia that raised concerns over match-fixing.
The final games of the CONMEBOL section of qualifying for Moscow 2018 were played, and both sides found themselves hovering around the all important fourth and fifth place spots in the South American table.
With Chile and Paraguay (who both lost their final games) also in contention for at least a play-off place, a draw between Colombia and Peru would have suited both teams, given that the play-off opponents are the unheralded New Zealand. With the match tied at 1-1 with just minutes to go, Colombian talisman Radamel Falcao started communicating rather conspicuously with many members of the Peru team.
WOW WOW! Video of what appears Falcao convincing Peru players one by one to deal for a draw that would qualify both pic.twitter.com/8laXomElvY
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) October 11, 2017
As seen above, the Peruvians proceed to pass the ball around their defence unchallenged for the remainder of the game. The strange footage gave way to talk of match-fixing.
Both Falcao and Renato Tapia of Peru have admitted that they discussed the qualifying situation that their respective teams were place in, according to Sky Sports. Both deny that the discussion had any bearing on the final result, however.
“We knew what was happening in the other matches, we were playing with (the knowledge of) the other results and in that moment (I tried) to transmit that (to Peru),” Falcao said after the match.
“In the last five minutes, the Colombians approached us. They knew what the situation was in the other games,” Tapia confirmed to Panamericana TV.
“So we managed the game as we needed to… I spoke with Radamel, who told me we were both qualified (as things stood), but it’s football and we play to win.”
No indication of any further action by footballing authorities CONMEBOL or FIFA has been raised as of yet.