(Updates with latest number of those suspended in the first paragraph and comments from football association head in fourth.)
Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe’s soccer authorities have suspended 82 players from representing the country after it probed match fixing of unsanctioned national team games in Asia.
The number suspended has risen from an initial 67, Jonathan Mashingaidze, chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Football Association, said in interview from Harare, the capital, today.
The probe includes friendly games played against Thailand and Syria in 2008 in a tour organized by former ZIFA CEO Henrietta Rushwaya, Mashingaidze said. Rushwaya left the organization in 2010.
‘All those who were hotly involved in this scandal will only play for Zimbabwe again when they have been cleared by the ethics committee, which has begun its work to see an end to this scandal,’’ Mashingaidze said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
Hearings will start next week and will last until March with all those on the tour including journalists, administrators and managers will be interviewed, he said. Zimbabwe lost 6-0 to Syria and 3-0 to Thailand, according to ZimOnline, an Internet news site.
‘Playing For Money’
“It was felt that some of the players were just playing for money from losing matches and did not care if Zimbabwe wins,” he said.
Those suspended will not be eligible to play for Zimbabwe in an African Cup of Nations qualifying match against Burundi scheduled for Feb. 29, Mashingaidze said.
Among those suspended are Ovidy Karuru, a player for U.S. Boulogne, a team in France’s second division, and South African based players including Thomas Sweswe and Willard Katsande of Johanensburg’s Kaizer Chiefs.
Zimbabwe has plummeted down FIFA’s ranking of national teams, falling out of the top 100 in a Jan. 18 assessment after dropping 28 places to 98th in December.
--Editors: Antony Sguazzin, Karl Maier
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