French 3rd division player suspended for 5 years for purposefully losing in match-fixing scandal

Nice-Matin report that a former Fréjus/Saint-Raphaël player was today in Paris found guilty of having played a key role in the fixing of a French 3rd division match in 2014, in actions that benefitted a number of still to be identified bettors.

A second player suspected to also being involved in the scheme has had his trial postponed, former goalkeeper Dominique Jean-Zéphirin, until April 29th, at the request of his lawyer. Jean-Zéphirin currently resides in Hollywood after partaking in reality TV shows in Los Angeles.

The Paris criminal court sentence Matar Fall, now 37, to a one-year suspended prison sentence, accompanied by a €10k fine and a blanket ban on playing professional sport for 5 years after finding him guilty of “passive corruption with the view to altering the outcome of bets” and “association with criminals.”

The player, who remarkably is still contracted to albeit another French 3rd division side, Toulon, was not present at today’s sentencing. The prosecutors office had been seeking an 8-month suspended prison sentence and a €20k fine, and in the end saw the judge hand out a longer suspended sentence but a smaller fine.

The instance for which both Fall and Jean-Zéphirin are being tried is a May 9th 2014 3rd division encounter between Fréjus and Colombiers, with the former club conceding four times in the first 21 minutes, which included a Fall own goal.

A technology company that tracks fluctuations in online betting markets, Sportradar, reported a higher than average volume of bets on this fixture made through Asian markets, roughly 20 times the amount of bets made than would usually be the case for a fixture of this stature.

A week before, a match played by Fréjus against Dunkerque had also seen an unexpectedly large number of bets placed on the fixture, but it ended in a draw.

The Paris investigation has established that Fall and Jean-Zéphirin asked their team-mates to ease off against Dunkerque and Colombiers, on behalf of the still identity-less Asian bettors. When the team-mates did not agree to partake in the scheme, the accused duo decided to sabotage the match on their own.

Sportradar claim that Jean-Zéphirin was in contact with two infamous Singaporean match-fixers. Fall’s lawyer, Benjamin Peyrelevade, sought to argue that his client was merely following the directives of the mastermind, Jean-Zéphirin.

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