How far will someone go to make sure their team advances in World Cup Qualifying? Let's take a trip to Central America, shall we?
On a Monday night press conference, players from the El Salvador men's national team released an audio recording of a man offering money to fix Tuesday's match against Canada.
Per EDHDeportes.com, the players claim the voice from the recording is that of Salvadoran businessman Ricardo Padilla, who is allegedly relaying what a Honduran businessman offered them for Tuesday's game. The El Salvador players were reportedly promised $30 for each minute played in a win, $20 for each minute played in a draw, $15 for each minute played in a 1-0 loss, and nothing if the team loses by two goals or more.
Let's take a peak at the standings to further understand the incentives.
|El Salvador (E)||5||0||2||3||-7||2|
With one game left for each team, the top two nations advance to the Hexagonal round. Tuesday's slate goes as follows: Canada hosts El Salvador, and Mexico hosts Honduras (10 p.m. ET kickoff for both matches). Canada needs to erase its -5 goal differential against an already-eliminated El Salvador side, and hope for a Mexico win over Honduras. Mexico has already advanced to the "Hex," so it remains to be seen if El Tri will relax against a Honduran side fighting for its World Cup life.
According to the man on the recording,the offer to EL Salvador players was:$30 per min played for a win.$20/min for a tie,$15 for a 1-0 loss— ANDRES CANTOR (@AndresCantorGOL) September 6, 2016
The El Salvador players said that Ricardo Padilla a former club prez & businesman showed up at the team's hotel and asked to speak w/players— ANDRES CANTOR (@AndresCantorGOL) September 6, 2016
To be clear, the team's hotel in San Salvador. It happenned, they said, Saturday at 6pm local.— ANDRES CANTOR (@AndresCantorGOL) September 6, 2016
For those not understanding the money offered to win, tie or lose by 1, consider the implications for the Mexico-Honduras match.— ANDRES CANTOR (@AndresCantorGOL) September 6, 2016
Press conference was called in El Salvador's team hotel in Vancouver and attended by the few traveling media members.— ANDRES CANTOR (@AndresCantorGOL) September 6, 2016
El Salvador forward Nelson Bonilla, who played the audio recording, released the following statement during the press conference (via Goal.com):
"With respect to what we just heard, we want to make clear that we're against this anything like this act. We want to be very transparent in front of the public about anything happening with the national team and want to disassociate ourselves from whatever bad impression this event could cause."
Given that the country was hit with a major match-fixing scandal three years ago that saw over a dozen players banned for life, this was obviously not a good look for El Salvador. Props to the players on the national team for releasing the audio and denouncing the offer.