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Match Fixing: El Salvador Bans 14 Soccer Players For Life

El Salvador announced today that it was banning 14 soccer players from ever taking the field with its national team again.

The players are accused of fixing matches in four contests, including in a loss against the U.S. in 2010 and a 5-0 loss against Mexico in the 2011 Gold Cup.

The AP reports:

"Among those banned on Friday were goalkeepers Miguel Montes and Dagoberto Portillo, Christian Castillo - a former DC United player - and William Osael Romero, who played for Chivas USA. ...

"Last month, 22 players were given one-month suspensions while the games were investigated."

"The disciplinary commission's work has been extensive, has evaluated all types of information obtained from interviews, videos and testimonials from people," the BBC quotes Carlos Mendez, president of the country's football federation, as saying.

Reuters reports that with many poor clubs, Central American players are vulnerable to the temptation of match-fixing. The wire service adds:

"Last year Guatemalan internationals Guillermo Ramirez, Gustavo Cabrera and Yony Flores were banned for life by their country's federation for trying to persuade team mates to manipulate a friendly against Costa Rica.

"The case was brought to light by the then national team coach Ever Almeida and striker Carlos Ruiz.

"Nicaragua defender Armando Collado was also banned for life over a friendly against Guatemala played in 2010."

That said, match-fixing is not a third-world problem. As we reported in February, Europol uncovered a massive match-fixing scheme involving more than 380 matches, including "World Cup and European Championship qualifiers and two Champions League games."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.