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Monday, February 8, 1999 Published at 15:23 GMT


UK

John Fashanu bounces back

John Fashanu bares his soul to Tim Sebastian

Former footballer John Fashanu has spoken of the shock of being tried and cleared on charges of matchfixing and how he coped with the suicide of his brother Justin.


John Fashanu: "A very big dividing line"
In a frank interview with HARDtalk's Tim Sebastian, the former Wimbledon striker spoke in detail about how he felt when he was accused and tried, along with Hans Segers and Bruce Grobbelaar, of rigging football match scores.

"There is a very big dividing line between match forecasting and match fixing," he said. "Match forecasting is something that you and I and everyone does ... match forecasting is very very different."

Mr Fashanu said no-one had ever asked him to fix a result and said it would be impossible to do such a thing.

"That would mean paying 22 players, almost, to fix a result," he said. "The sums of money which the prosecution were talking about us allegedly fixing were into millions. 2m to get Wimbledon to lose against Manchester United?

"Well, you know we normally lose against Manchester United, so it wasn't much of a fix."

Feuding brothers

Fashanu faced more adversity last year when his brother Justin, British football's first black million pound signing, committed suicide.

On Justin, Fashanu said: "He had the reputation of living by the sword."

The brothers were brought up by Barnados and later by foster parents. Justin was signed up to Norwich football club aged 14, but it was not long before John followed in his footsteps.


[ image: Justin: UK football's first 1m black player]
Justin: UK football's first 1m black player
But in 1990 the brothers fell out after Justin announced his homosexuality in a tabloid newspaper. Then last year, Justin committed suicide after allegations of sexual assault against a teenager in the US.

Fashanu said, "We'd lost contact, we were just starting to get together again, because of course time heals. Justin was in London when these allegations came out. He panicked.


John Fashanu on brother Justin: "He had the reputation of living by the sword"
"As the coroner said, there was no arrest warrant. They weren't going to arrest him, the police were never looking for Justin Fashanu. But it's a great newspaper story."

Fashanu said he had been upset that Justin had told a newspaper about his sexuality, rather than telling his family directly.

He said: "If he'd have come to me and said, 'Look John, I'm gay' I'd have said, 'so what Justin? I'm heterosexual, I like women. I'm not going to go and scream and shout about it.

"'This is how you were made. No problem at all. Get on with your life.'"

John Fashanu is taking his own advice and getting on with his.

You can watch the interview in full on BBC World and News 24 at the times shown below.


BBC World (times shown in GMT)
February 8 1530 and 1930
February 9 0730 and 0930

News 24 (times shown in GMT)
February 8 2030
February 9 0330





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