Cameroonian authorities are reportedly investigating Barcelona icon Samuel Eto’o for match-fixing.
After a tape of him reportedly speaking to Victoria United president Valentine Nkwain was made public, the 42-year-old, who also played for Inter Milan, Chelsea, and Everton, was accused of helping to manipulate matches in Cameroon’s second tier.
According to Camfoot, Eto’o, who has been head of the Cameroonian Football Federation (Fecafoot) since December 2021, allegedly pledged to promote Victoria United through match manipulation.
Those claims have been denied by Eto’o and Nkwain, while Victoria United ended up getting promoted.
The Guardian has now reported that, from a letter seen by them, police in Cameroon have opened an investigation into alleged ‘abuse of authority and corruption’.
It’s said that they have interviewed several key witnesses and looked into wider accusations of corruption at Fecafoot during Eto’s time in the role.
They say that it is believed that the investigation could involve up to 40 people.
Eto’o allegedly told Nkwain in the recording: ‘There are things we can do, but you have to be very discreet, brother.’
‘Don’t worry, we’ll give you your three points and we will suspend the referee. Opopo [Victoria’s nickname] must go up to the first division. This is our goal. This is our federation. Victoria United will go up.’
Eto’o told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport in June that he had been ‘talking to a friend, someone who invests in football and wants to make his club one of the best in Cameroon’.
He added: ‘I just reassured him by saying that I would have done everything possible to avoid any refereeing errors against him.’
The Athletic reported on Wednesday that FIFA is under pressure to remove Eto’o from his position after a group of Cameroonian football leaders urged them to do so.
The group, which included the president of Cameroon’s professional football league and a former Fecafoot vice-president, wrote a letter to FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Patrice Motsepe, questioning how he has been allowed to “illegally impose himself on the FECAFOOT presidency” following a series of public incidents.
A CAF inquiry into Eto’o’s “certain alleged improper conduct” was launched in early August, just weeks after leaked recordings claimed to incriminate the 42-year-old in a match-fixing scandal, which he strenuously rejected.