Rome: Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport on Friday reported that world football governing body FIFA and Ecuadorian referee Byron Moreno were involved in match-fixing in the 2002 World Cup in favour of co-hosts South Korea who won the quarterfinals after two of Spain's goals were rescinded.
In light of the arrest of seven FIFA officials over corruption charges on Wednesday in Zurich upon the request of the United States judiciary, the newspaper argued that years earlier, FIFA wanted to ensure the host country's position in the tournament in a distinctive way, reports Efe.
The 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan witnessed the elimination of Spain against South Korea in a penalty shootout after Egyptian referee Gamal al-Gamal Ghandour overturned two goals scored by 'La Roja'; the incident was described by Spanish and international press as a "refereeing scandal" and subsequently asked for a "cleansing" of the World Cup.
Corriere also highlighted the match between Italy and South Korea in the Round of 16 which was refereed by Moreno, currently a sports commentator, who was accused by the newspaper to have curbed the Azzurri's campaign with a series of red cards, unseen fouls and cancelled goals, the match that ended in a 2-1 victory for the hosts.
Moreno, who was sentenced to 30 months in prison on drug charges in 2010, was described by the Italian newspaper as being part of "a scam" within the FIFA corruption scandal.