The corrupt games in Ibrahim Chaibou’s career were key to revealing how easily international friendlies could be manipulated for betting scams, forced FIFA to change the rules for appointing referees, and helped expose the influence of convicted fixer Wilson Perumal.
“Chaibou was probably the most corrupt referee the game of football has seen,” former FIFA investigator Chris Eaton told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Still, it took more than eight years to confirm his life ban from any involvement in soccer. FIFA ethics committee judges found the referee from Niger guilty of taking bribes to corrupt international friendly games in 2010 and 2011, soccer’s world governing body said.
Chaibou was fined 200,000 Swiss francs ($201,000), though it is unclear what power FIFA has to make the long-retired referee pay. He can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The Niger official was paid bribes to influence the outcome of national-team games played in Africa, the Middle East and South America.
His favored tactic was awarding questionable penalty kicks — often for real and imagined handball offenses — to help increase the number of goals scored.
FIFA did not specify which games its ethics committee took into account when judging Chaibou.