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Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Zimbabwe suspends 67 players

The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has suspended 67 players, including most of the national team, following a long-standing investigation into match-fixing.

A ZIFA probe last year led to a number of players admitting that they accepted money from an Asian betting syndicate to lose exhibition games on Far East trips from 2007-09.

The ZIFA report said the money was handed out by agents of Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, who is in jail in Finland for fixing activities in that country.

In a statement on Monday, ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze said implicated players must not be included in the national team unless they are cleared by the organization's ethics committee.

Former Zimbabwe captain Method Mwanjali and top national team players Daniel Vheremu, Benjamin Marere and Thomas Sweswe made statements admitting taking money, along with a member of the coaching staff, Joey Antipas.

The list of players who featured in the matches includes several key members of the current squad: Nyasha Mushekwi, Khama Billiat and Ovidy Karuru.

The decision to suspend the players was made during an emergency board meeting to review Zimbabwe's failure to qualify for the African Nations Cup, which is currently under way in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

Last September, ZIFA suspended three of its board members, pending further investigation, for their alleged involvement.

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