AS Monaco’s star striker Radamel Falcao and Colombia have been drawn into a huge controversy after seemingly playing a part in match-fixing during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Peru. The two nations forked out a 1-1 draw in their final qualifier, which earned the Colombians a place at the mega event in Russia, while Peru made it to the playoffs at the cost of Copa America Champions Chile on goal difference. Peru will now battle it out with New Zealand over a two-legged play-off for the ticket to Russia.
Fixing allegations have surfaced during the closing stages of the encounter where Falcao was seen talking to his opposition. Monaco’s 50 million pound striker told his opponents for the night to take their foot off the gas following a dominant start to the encounter thus seeing out the final few minutes with little competitive spirit. He was seen seriously speaking to Peru playing telling them a draw would suit them both.
Peru midfielder Renato Tapia in an interview to Panamericana Television said "We were focussed on the game and then in the final five minutes the Colombians approached us. They knew the situations from the other grounds. The game was managed as it had to be managed. I spoke with Falcao and he said to me that we were both in, so there was happiness about that." 31-year-old Falcao also admitted to that talks were held on the field, with neither team needing to push for a winner. He told reporters after the game "We knew what was happening in the other matches, we were playing with the knowledge of the other results and in that moment I tried to transmit that.”
While Falcao’s actions have raised serious questions, Peru has rubbished claims that there was any kind of earlier understanding between the two nations to play for a draw. FIFA is yet to make a statement on the accusations.