Several Belize soccer players are reporting an attempt by an unknown man to fix last night’s Belize-United States CONCACAF match. Belize was 20-1 underdogs and lost the match 6-1, so it is unclear why the bettor would look to the Belize side in order to fix a game. 7NewsBelize has comments from the players:
Ian Gaynair – Belize National Selection
“He started talking that we don’t really stand a chance to beat the U.S so he wanted us to promise him that we would lose the game and that he would give us a large amount of money to change our lives in Belize and to help our families. Then as he said that my entire features changed and I just felt a different way, I felt really uncomfortable just to be around the guy because I was already aware about the ‘match fixing’ and I know that I could get banned for life. He saw that my features changed and he saw that we weren’t into it so he got frightened and took out a large amount of money to bribe us, a lot of hundred and fifty dollar bills and threw it at us on the table and told us to keep it and to not say anything and to keep the money. Like I told him, ‘we can’t take that money’ because at the end of the day our entire country is behind us and we just made history for these big games so we can’t just sell out our country for a little bit of money. At the end of the day we might not be making a lot of money in Belize but still we have to look at our career and our future.”
Woodrow West – Belize National Selection
“That is what I explained to the man – I made him understand that we’re not into taking money from him or anything like that, and we’re here for our country – regardless if we’re in the U.S.A but we’re not into that none at all. He got frightened and we walked – Yolo walked away and I followed him because I didn’t want to stay back there so when we went he chased us and grabbed us and told us not to tell anyone; and that if we didn’t tell anyone – that when we got to Belize he would give us $10,000 euros. We are Belizeans and that is what we’re doing out here – to represent our country and to me Woodrow West and being loyal to my country – that bigger than any amount of money that they can ever give me and that is why I stood firm and Thank God we had that strength to deny this man because he was really into giving us a large amount of money.”
The players say the man initially made contact with them in Guatemala, then made the offer near the team hotel in Portland last week. The Belize team is made up of mostly non-professional players with jobs in the real world, so a big offer might appear to be tempting to some. Not the case here, however.