A Saudi Arabian referee that was one of the 36 officials chosen to officiate at this summer’s World Cup has been banned from soccer in Saudi Arabia for life, the Associated Press reports.
Fahad Al Mirdasi, who has been a FIFA-listed official since 2011, is being accused by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation of fixing a match in exchange for payment.
Al Mirdasi was nixed from the King’s Cup final on Saturday after the SAFF claimed that an investigation into the referee uncovered that Al Mirdasi asked an Al-Ittihad official for money before a match against Al-Faisaly. The report also indicates that the Al-Ittihad official is the one that relayed the messages. The “transaction” was conducted via WhatsApp, a messaging service often used for international conversations.
According to FIFA, it “notes the information that referee Fahad Al Mirdasi has allegedly been banned for life from all football-related activities,” and is waiting to receive more information from the SAFF, according to the AP.
Al Mirdasi also officiated the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, among other events. According to BBC, the SAFF says that Al Mirdasi has admitted to seeking out payment to fix a match.
The World Cup will begin on June 15 in Russia, before which time FIFA will have to make a decision on Al Mirdasi’s international status.