Match-fixing investigator Hill welcomes Lamptey ban after Bafana vs. Senegal match

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Declan Hill is an investigative journalist, who wrote The Fix and The Insider's Guide to Match-Fixing in football

Hill was a Chevening Scholar at Green College, University of Oxford and has a doctorate in the study of organized crime and informal governance, focusing on match-fixing in professional sports. 

Fifa's investigation into Ghanaian referee Joseph Odartei Lamptey's role in Bafana Bafana's 2-1 victory against Senegal is still an ongoing case. 

They've already released a statement banning Lamptey for any involved in soccer for life. At the head of this decision was the Ghanaian referee controversially awarding South Africa a penalty in the game. 

That incident put the home side, SA 1-0 up and eased Bafana to eventual victory. For the long term the result placed them ahead of Senegal in their World Cup qualifying group.

In speaking exclusively to Goal, investigator Declan Hill applauds Fifa for their work in this case. "Excellent work!" he told Goal.

"(The case is) A welcome change from the 'see-no-evil' work of Fifa in the past.  There have been groups of referee's across Africa ready and willing to take bribes to influence major matches.  Hoping that this ban starts to make these referees nervous," said Hill.

Hill's comment about African refereeing is a damning verdict that should ring alarm bells for better policing of referees in Caf matches.

South African clubs have long complained about poor refereeing away in Africa. Hill has written about corruption in football for over a decade and it's not the first time he implicated Ghanaians. In his books he previously wrote about how Ghana allegedly threw their 2006 Fifa World Cup game against Brazil. The Ghana FA and players had always distanced themselves from these allegations which were never proven.

In World Cups after that Hill mentioned in interviews that poorer nations risk falling victim to match-fixing, but underlined how match-fixing in better paid teams was very unlikely. 

Here's Fifa's official statement on the banning of Lamptey and the Bafana vs. Senegal match:

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided to ban the Ghanaian match official Joseph Odartei Lamptey from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at national and international level for life. 

The official was found guilty of breaching art. 69 par. 1 (unlawfully influencing match results) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifying match between South Africa and Senegal on 12 November 2016.

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On the other hand, all charges against the Ghanaian match official David Lionheart Nii Lartey Laryea, whose behaviour had also been the subject of investigations, were dismissed by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.

Further information concerning the South Africa v. Senegal match in question will be provided once the decision becomes final and binding.

FIFA follows a zero-tolerance policy on match manipulation and is committed to protecting the integrity of football. As a result, FIFA will continue with its ongoing efforts to combat match manipulation through a variety of initiatives, which include the monitoring of international betting and a confidential reporting system with a dedicated integrity hotline and e-mail address.

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