Match-fixing: Wikki Tourists FC players under investigation

THE management of Wikki Tourists Football Club (FC) of Bauchi has commenced investigations into allegations that some of the team’s players were involved in a match-fixing and betting scandal.

Wikki Tourists competes in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

The club’s chairman, Balarabe Douglas, told journalists on Thursday, May 3, in Bauchi that some of the players have been charged with “match-fixing and betting for selfish reasons”.

According to him, the development had angered the club’s leadership as well as the team’s fans and all of the residents of Bauchi State.

“We commenced an investigation into allegations of manipulating the outcome of matches for betting purposes by some of our players in breach of the Wikki Tourists’ conduct and regulations.

“The management can confirm that the wide investigation is now at an advanced stage, and it is anticipated that it will be completed shortly, at which point any potential charges will be considered.

“The players involved have frustrated the efforts of the team and the management in all the matches of the 2022/2023 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL),” the club chairman said.

Douglas urged Wikki Tourists fans and residents of Bauchi State to maintain the peace, promising that the club will soon return to its glorious days.

“The management firmly opposes game manipulation, gambling, and other acts that violate sports integrity and ethics, and will hand out punishments based on the final investigation,” he added.

Douglas thanked the NPFL Interim Management Committee (IMC) for giving the club back the three points and three goals that were earlier deducted as punishment for misbehaviour by their fans during a Week 13 match with Bayelsa United FC at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi, on April 9.

The match was alleged to have been characterised by irregularities and the management of Wikki Tourists FC was accused of not providing adequate security. The club’s fans were charged for throwing objects in the field and assaulting match officials.

The IMC, in its penalties after a review of the match imposed three points, goals deduction on Wikki Tourists, a N2.5 million fine and ordered the stadium closed to all NPFL matches.

However, the club appealed the penalty.

A footballer, Fatau Dauda, had alleged that he left Enyimba FC in 2019 due to rampant match-fixing in the NPFL.

The Ghanaian star joined Enyimba in 2016 but left three years after. He made the match-fixing allegation while speaking with Angel TV, according to a report by Ghana Soccer Net.

“There’s one particular reason why I finally decided to leave Enyimba FC. It’s all because of betting,” said Dauda

“Betting can destroy football. You know Nigeria is a big country. Sometimes, we can be on the road for two days traveling for an away game.

“We will go and lose a game but when we come on the bus, you’ll see some players happy. You’ll see some players pressing their phones, and checking the score lines of other league games. I later got to find out from one of our guys that some of the players on the team were betting on our matches.

“They were fixing the games. It was shocking. It was the reason I decided to leave because I can’t be part of this and it was a waste of time playing in games when some people have already planned the outcome.”

The IMC, which manages the NPFL, is yet to react to the match-fixing allegations.

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