By Abiodun Adewale.
Fahad Al Mirdasi, a top Saudi Arabian referee has been given a lifetime ban from football by the Saudi Football Federation (SAFF) for a match-fixing attempt.
Al Mirdasi, one of Asian football’s most experienced officials, received his punishment after confessing to offering to fix the King’s Cup final in Al Ittihad’s favour.
A statement from SAFF also said they requested a lifetime global ban from FIFA and for him to lose his World Cup spot.
“FIFA notes the information that referee Fahad Al Mirdasi has allegedly been banned from all football-related activities by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation,” they told BBC Sport.
Al Mirdasi was banned after approaching Al Ittihad chief Hamad Al-Senaie, who gave WhatsApp messages to the SAFF. The SAFF Ethics Committee said Al Mirdasi was taken into police custody where he confessed.
Al Ittihad beat Al Faisaly in extra-time in the King’s Cup final at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City, with former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg officiating.
Al Mirdasi, who has been on the FIFA referees’ list since 2011, refereed at the Confederations Cup in Russia last year.
The 32-year-old oversaw the third-place game between Mexico and Portugal in which two penalties were awarded, two players sent off in extra time and Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio also dismissed.
Al Mirdasi was also a referee at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.