Peru’s football players association is on the defensive, demanding an investigation into match-fixing from the football association as they claim that they are being targeted.
It all kicked off after former Peruvian national football team player Víctor Rossel said on the local radio show Quiero Fútbol that two of the teams in Liga 1’s Clausura tournament deserved to be relegated, because their players participated in match-fixing.
"They have denigrated the profession of the football," he declared.
In particular, Rossel pointed the finger at the club Academia Cantolao, saying that six of their players had been internally suspended, information that was not confirmed nor public.
In the wake of the interview, the Association of Professional Footballers of Peru (SAFAP) was quick to fire back that “they are not the only ones to blame,” in a statement.
"Going out to say publicly that there are players who acted suspiciously, we consider that it is an attempt to divert attention elsewhere. When we witness unusual cases, the clubs are the first ones to know that this is happening in their group.”
SAFAP went on to insist that they have strict and long-standing internal processes to address these issues. It was as a result of the accusations that they asked the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF) to conduct an investigation into the country’s Liga 1.
SAFAP’s president Roberto Silva Pró said it was necessary for the safety of its players, citing a case of a footballer who was threatened with a gun in an attempt to convince him to throw the results of a game.
Though rumblings of match-fixing are not uncommon in Peru, this recent case will pack a hard punch as it comes on the back of a wave of match-fixing investigations ignited by Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies.
The FPF, for its part, has yet to publicly address the request.
Peru is currently waiting for long overdue draft regulations for its online sports-betting bill, whose publication will kick off a 120-day period to apply for a licence before the market officially launches. The legislation itself does not directly address match-fixing.