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Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 00:13 GMT 01:13 UK
Match-fixing charge rocks Brazil
By Steve Kingstone
BBC News, Sao Paulo

Whistle (generic)
The referee would allegedly get orders moments before kick-off
Brazil's football season has been rocked by the arrest of a referee accused of helping to fix matches as part of an illegal betting ring.

Edilson Pereira de Carvalho is alleged to have accepted bribes in order to influence the results of games.

He refereed 11 matches during the current First Division championship. and they may now have to be replayed.

Brazil has also asked football's world governing body to suspend Mr Carvalho as an approved international referee.

Over several months the Brazilian police secretly recorded the phone conversations of Mr Carvalho, 43.

'Online scam'

The allegation is that he received instructions on how to referee First Division matches from participants in an internet betting ring.

It is claimed that sometimes those instructions would come just moments before kick-off.

Mr Carvalho would then favour one team or the other, allegedly for a fee of between $4,000 and $6,000 per game.

The official has now been questioned by the police and suspended from his duties, along with a second referee accused of fixing lower division matches.

On Sunday, Brazil's footballing authorities wrote to Fifa recommending that Mr Carvalho also be suspended as an international referee.

With Brazil already two-thirds of the way through its football season, there is now heated debate about what the authorities should do next.

The 11 games refereed by Mr Carvalho will almost certainly have to be replayed and, amid claims of more widespread match-fixing, the Brazilian Football Confederation has promised an independent inquiry.

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