Eto’o cleared of match-fixing charges but fined for 1XBET promotional role

July 5 – Cameroon football chief Samuel Eto’o has been cleared of match-fixing, but the former FC Barcelona star has been fined $200,000 by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for his role as brand ambassador for controversial bookmaker 1XBET. 

In a statement on Thursday, CAF said: “Mr Eto’o was facing charges of alleged manipulation of football matches and violating the principles of ethics and integrity. The Disciplinary Board ruled that as it stands, there is insufficient proof to find Mr Samuel Eto’o Fils and Mr Valentin Nkwain guilty of match manipulation.

“However, the Disciplinary Board found Mr Eto’o to have seriously violated the principles of ethics, integrity and sportsmanship as provided in Article 2 paragraph 3 of the CAF Statutes by signing a Brand Ambassador contract with the company 1XBET in exchange for remuneration and consequently fined Mr Eto’o an amount of 200,000 USD.”

In the spring of 2023, Eto’o, Fecafoot boss, became a representative for 1XBET, writing on social media that he was a “proud ambassador of 1xBet” and telling his followers to “prepare yourself for non-stop excitement with mega bonuses, unlimited options and a safe betting experience.”

FIFA strictly forbids individuals bound by its code from participating in any betting or gambling activities, though it did sign up Kaizen Gaming-owned sports betting brand Betano as its first gambling sponsor for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Article 27 of the FIFA Ethics Code prohibits football administrators from both participating directly and indirectly in betting and gambling as well as from having an indirect or direct interest. Football officials can be slapped with a fine of at least CHF100,000 and a three-year ban from the game, according to article 27.3. CAF’s disciplinary code lists betting as passive corruption in article 136.

Last summer, CAF opened an investigation into Eto’o after he was accused of match-fixing.

CAF cleared him of match manipulation, but still slapped him with a fine for his ambassadorial role for 1XBet, which earlier this week renewed a sponsorship deal with FC Barcelona, one of Eto’o’s former clubs.

All three of the bookmaker’s owners Sergey Karshkov, Roman Semiokhin and Dmitry Kazorin are wanted by Russian authorities. Karshkov reportedly died last year in Switzerland.

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