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El Salvador Federation present lifetime bans to 14 players for match-fixing

ElSalvadorTeamPhoto1 (CONCACAF)

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The El Salvadorean Football Federation (FESFUT) announced on Friday that 14 El Salvadorean National Team players have been banned for life due to match-fixing, according to a statement from FESFUT.

The news comes 30 days after FESFUT provisionally suspended 22 players for one month due to allegations into match-fixing within the national team squad. Among those given lifetime bans include former New York Red Bulls defender Alfredo Pacheco, former Chivas USA midfielder Osael Romero, and, former San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Ramon Sanchez, and former D.C. United midfielder Christian Castillo.

According to FESFUT, the players banned participated in match-fixing National Team matches against D.C. United (friendly match, 2010), the United States (friendly match, 2010), Mexico (Gold Cup, 2011) and Paraguay (friendly match, 2013).

In addition to the lifetime bans, FESFUT levied an 18-month ban to Romeo Monteagudo, six-month bans to former D.C. United midfielder Eliseo Quintanilla and captain Victor Turcios, and cleared defender Carlos Carrillo of all wrongdoing. FESFUT also extended the provisional suspension for four players, including star forward Rodolfo Zelaya, for another 20 days while the Federations continues their investigation.

Carlos Mendez Cabezas, President of FESFUT, said he would go to FIFA with these decisions to ensure that the bans are applied worldwide.

“We want to set an example for current and future generations to be alert to not be enveloped in negative actions, ruining years of dedication and sacrifice for football and end their athletic careers, at the same time destroying the life force of the enormous love that our country has,” Cabezas said in a statement on FESFUT’s website.

Three more players were added to those under investigation, including Yimmy Cuéllar, Alexander Escobar, Christian Sánchez, suspending the players for 30 days on allegations of match-fixing during a friendly match between El Salvador and Venezuela last May.

Turcios, who received a shorter sentence than some of his teammates, was reportedly named as the whistle blower to the match-fixing scheme that was going on within the national team.

In an interview with Radio 102Nueve in El Salvador, Ramon Sanchez said that he would be appealing the decision, and that he’s already been in discussion with his lawyer.

CONCACAF and FIFA have yet to publicly comment on the situation.

Here’s the full list of banned players:

Lifetime Ban: Luis Anaya, Osael Romero, Ramón Sánchez, Christian Castillo, Miguel Granadino, Miguel Montes, Dagoberto Portillo, Dennis Alas, Darwin Bonilla, Ramón Flores, Alfredo Pacheco, Mardoqueo Henríquez, Marvin González, Reynaldo Hernández

18-Month Ban: Romeo Monteagudo

Six-Month Ban: Eliseo Quintanilla, Víctor Turcios

Extended Provisional Suspension: Rodolfo Zelaya, Rodrigo Alejandro Martínez, Benji Villalobos, Emerson Umaña

Suspended for 30 Days: Yimmy Cuéllar, Alexander Escobar, Christian Sánchez

Acquitted: Carlos Carrillo


What do you think of this news? Happy to see such a strong decision against those choosing the fix games? Do you see further action to any of the players not banned for life? Do you believe this could have a domino affect in other CONCACAF nations?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I can’t help but think if this happened in Mexico, Femexfut would have done everything in its power to cover it the hell up.

    The deed becoming known is way worse than the deed itself over there.

  2. For fans of El Salvador, look on the bright side. You’ll probably get a TV movie out of it called “Fourteen Men (and counting) Out,” not to mention the legend of Cleatless Jose.

    In other words, the U.S. went through this a while back, with its then pastime. The game is bigger and more important than any player, and when the integrity of the game is in question, tough steps must be taken to protect it.

    But it hardly ends at El Salvador. While several Belize players came forward before the Gold Cup game with the U.S. and made public the attempts to fix that match, there are others from that team that didn’t come forward. Too many are content to believe that game was ‘clean’ because of the refusal of those few. Take another look at those highlights.

    And I would guess this goes well beyond Belize and El Salvador in this confederation.

  3. Does anyone know how I can play for el salvador national team?? Frfr, I’m 17 years and am a great left winger with speed and I’m always starting plays and give assit to my high school team mates. The area and school I play for aren’t to fond with soccer so that’s why I’m asking.

  4. Remember when match-fixers approached Belize back in July, and Belize turned them in? That must have been tempting, since they didn’t even have the budget to travel to the games without donations.

    I wonder what the scam was. The fixers could hardly have needed to bribe Belize’s team to lose to the United States, so it must’ve had something to do with goal difference in the Gold Cup.

      • On the other hand, if you’re trying to manipulate the goal difference or the number of goals scored in a tournament, a huge rout of Belize by the United States would count, and everyone would believe it.

      • The championship of the region? Absolutely enough people are watching. It was probably one of the most bet on events in the world during the time it was on.

        Int’l betting takes place on everything from Romanian lower divisions to Norwegian womens games to USL. The Gold Cup is a big event in betting circles.

    • A good book to check out is The Fix by Declan Hill, who spent a few years interviewing and tracking down game fixers, most of whom are part of or have close ties to Asian organized crime syndicates.

      • Yeah 3, after closer inspection. Also it’s funny how the announcer (wynalda?) makes a comment about the goalie going to ground well before a shot is played. Which is even stranger after watching the full highlights and seeing some of the amazing saves he made. My guess would be the fix was to have a goal scored in stoppage time, probably really good odds on that if one was to make a bet through a singapore gang or whatever.

  5. I am not surprised by match-fixing allegations, esp. when done in poorer countries. There’s no excuse for it, but if you have many relatives in poverty, and the salaries in the domestic league are modest, I can understand the temptation the players face.

    What I can’t understand is why anyone would fix a friendly match? With all of the subs and not much at stake, if I were a betting man, I would NEVER wager on a friendly.

  6. Lots of central american countries are corrupt. Selective Justice is the norm. Those kind of countries tend to be umm crappy. Not only central american, but south american, eastern Europe, most of Africa…always nice they get caught.

  7. I would also say that the Salvadoran Federation should also ban themselves for life as well. They are a bunch of Corrupt men who have destroyed football in El Salvador. It’s a disaster!!! Very unfortunate.

  8. This would have been really shortsighted by Zelaya if true, the kid had a real future in a bigger league. He is a talent. The allure of instant money can make people make stupid decisions though so I wouldn’t be shocked.

  9. Wow as a Salvadorean-American who follows ‘La Selecta’ regularly, this is a massive blow to everyone. People are holding out hope that at least Zelaya wasn’t involved but the extended investigation really isn’t a good sign. From their captain Turcios to their reliable starters in Alas, Romero, Montes etc. this will change the national team forever. The only positive thing about this crummy scenario is that the U-23/U-20 team has several talented players who will have to take reigns of the senior team. Overall this shouldn’t effect the CONCACAF landscape at all, El Salvador has had their moments but is by no means ready to challenge the likes of Panama or Honduras.

    • THANK YOU……folks need to understand the proper way to refer to Salvadrans. It is just like when most folks use Columbian when it reality it is Colombian when speaking about people from Colombia.

      • Yes, true. People write Columbia because that is how it’s pronounced phonetically for most people. Well, unless you are really from Columbia MO.

    • it’s match fixing! its disgusting and ruins the integrity of the sport. the punishment is just. im glad these players will never be allowed to play pro soccer. ever!

    • leave it the hispanic guy to says its unfair

      I think its unfair 71% of illegal immigrants are using welfare for their US born kids.

      • Wow, what an 1diot you are Love It. What does illegal immigration have to do with this soccer story. I could easily say “leave it to the Caucasian guy to be racist/xenophobic”, but unlike you I don’t make such blanket statements. Here is a thought for you my friend; why do you think over all these years this immigration continues to be allowed? It is very easy to stop the immigration if the government really wanted to do it. It some ways it is very beneficial to this country.
        I’m not going even going to get into the fact that at one point your ancestors were also immigrants, just like the people you are complaining about. I doubt you are Native-American. This is a country of immigrants.

      • Delusional nonsense.

        I live in one of those despotic regimes south of the border about which you speak. It’s amazing I survive each day.

      • Ok, first, I’m not hispanic. I’m 100% gringo.

        Second, you are one dumb-%*# xenophobe and borderline racist. (Thank you “UclaBruinGreat” for chiming in.)

        Third – and this a general comment to the neg-head responses to my comment – yes, throwing a matches is reprehensible. BUT, you have to remember that these guys are human just like everybody else on the planet. They must be given a shot, at some point, for redemption.

        I’m not for capital punishment and I’m not for striping a man of his trade in perpetuity. That’s just too stark of a world to live in.

      • Soccer’s not a trade… it’s a dream come true. Or more often, a moment in the sun. Hopefully these guys know how to do other stuff too. And hopefully that stuff’s legal and/or less heinous.

      • Soccer is a trade homie. Millions of men around the world learn how to play it and earn a living as pros. That, by definition, is a trade. One reason Americans, which you clearly are, don’t succeed abroad and on the international stage, is that they don’t understand this and don’t have exposure to the developmental processes of the trade. Go to any successful footballing nation, and you find out very quickly that it’s very much a trade, akin to carpentry, plumbing, etc. But, yes, futbol carries the potential for glory.

      • And once again, people toss around words like “xenophobia” either without knowing what it means or without really read the comment.

        The guy wrote he “thinks its unfair 71%….” whatever. He didn’t write that he fears and/or hates foreigners, which would make it a Xenophobic.

        Knee-jerk name calling doesn’t make the initial dumb comment any worse.

      • the punishment is severe but not draconian.

        their shot at redemption is something their religious figures will have to tend to. the consequences were known and are stringent for a reason – proven match fixing will kill the sport. does anyone really believe that lance armstrong is the world’s best cyclist anymore, or do they just consider him a cheater, and by connection question the sport itself?

      • But the advice of Nope’s screen name would be… er, to disagree with you I guess. In that regard I think he’s doing a bang-up job and is to be commended.

    • Not at all, assuming the investigation was objective. Not too harsh at all.

      I’m just wondering if El Salvador is where it ends, and suspecting it isn’t. I saw an article a while back in which a reporter was told by someone from a gambling organization in Singapore that the Gold Cup would be full of fixed matches and that they had players on every team in the bag. I suspect that was an exaggeration but I also suspect it is bigger than just El Salvador.

      By the way, if match fixing on the part of any USMNT players is ever proven, I’d support lifetime bans for them, too, regardless of who that might be. I don’t think any of them have been involved with anything like this, but if they were…


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