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Mahmoud al Ali – Football Player part of the National Team and one of the masterminds behind the match-fixing scandal

Few days ago, 24 Lebanese Football Players and two officials were charged of involvement in the match-fixing scandal that has been ongoing since 2006. The charges varied from a life-time ban and a $15,000 penalty to 1 season ban and meager penalty of $2000. Having said that, I still believe the charges aren’t harsh enough and the damage that these players caused to the Lebanese Football is irreparable.

Why am I saying that? Just check the match-fixing details as they happened that Al-Akhbar published yesterday! In fact I will make an effort and translate few excerpts into English to show you how bad this is.

First story is from the game that opposed Lebanon to South Korea back in June 2012 and that Lebanon lost 3-0. While thousands of Lebanese in Lebanon and abroad were cheering for their team, supporting them in every way possible, making Lebanon trend on Twitter, coming up with new songs and video clips on YouTube and encouraging the players one by one, two of our National Team Players were conspiring to make us lose 4-0 to earn some extra cash from a bet they had placed earlier.

لقصص التي لم تنشر سابقاً كثيرة وبعضها يصيب المرء بالصدمة وبالقرف في آنٍ معاً، اذ لا يمكن تقبّل فكرة ان الجمهور اللبناني كان جالساً على اعصابه امام شاشات التلفزة لمتابعة المباراة التي خسرها لبنان امام كوريا الجنوبية 0-3 في حزيران الماضي، في الوقت الذي كان ينادي فيه لاعب مدافع على زميله المهاجم بعدم التقدّم الى الامام بهذا الشكل بل العودة الى الخلف للمشاركة في المهمة بحيث ان «التعليمة» تقول بأنه يفترض ان يخسر لبنان بنتيجة 0-4 والوقت كان قريباً من النهاية.

Second Story is from the last Arab cup where Lebanon was facing Iraq. Lebanon’s best goalkeeper Abdel Samad was injured and due to miss the game but the coach allowed him to play at the last second. This last-minute change led 8 of the players/officials involved in match-fixing to try and convince Samad in the dressing room to concede 3 goals. Samad was enraged by their request and told them he’d never do such a thing. Iraq won by one goal.

والصمد نفسه عاش تجربة صادمة في كأس العرب الاخيرة، فهو عشية المباراة امام العراق أُبلغ بعدم خوضه للقاء قبل ان يبدّل المدرب الالماني ثيو بوكير رأيه ويعلمه باشراكه بدلاً من محمد حمود. هذا القرار خربط كل حسابات عملاء مكاتب المراهنات، فتوجّه ثمانية منهم الى الصمد خلال تبديله لملابسه طالبين منه المساهمة بخسارة لبنان بثلاثية نظيفة، فكان ردّ الحارس صارماً وقاسياً على محدثيه متوعداً اياهم بالاسوأ في حال كرروا طلبهم بخصوص موضوعٍ مشابه. وهذا الحديث جرى على مسامع اداري المنتخب فؤاد بلهوان الذي كان متواجداً بالصدفة في دورة المياه. ودورات المياه كانت مركزاً في بعض الاحيان لتوزيع الاموال، وفي احيانٍ اخرى باحات المطارات حيث سُدّدت المبالغ – المكافآت للمتورّطين.

See Also:Meat The Bun

I never followed closely Lebanese Football but never missed a chance to support the National Team, but after reading these stories, I don’t think I will ever watch any football game that includes Lebanese clubs or the National Team.

Respect to Roda Antar, Youssef Mohammad, Bilal Najarian and Ziad el Samad and to all the players who refused to betray their team and stood against other players fixing games and placing bets.

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I want to believe that the investigation was clean and thorough but I can’t