Ex-FIFA referee Joe Attard convicted for bribery

Former coach Ilir Pelinku and ex-FIFA referee Joseph Attard, who was stripped of his FIFA referee badge, received a suspended jail term and fined 500 euro each for trying to bribe a goalkeeper before an international match in 2008. The Malta Football Association handed down a life ban to both men in 2010, after their involvement in an attempt to rig the UEFA Cup preliminary round match between Marsaxlokk and Slaven Belupo first came to light in 2008. During the criminal case against the two men, magistrate Antonio Micallef Trigona heard how they had approached Marsaxlokk goalkeeper Saviour Darmanin, now retired, asking him to give his opponents a three-goal advantage. Darmanin refused the offer outright. Marsaxlokk lost 4-0, but the goalkeeper was still exonerated by former MFA president Joseph Mifsud during a press conference where he named the accused, who said that he was in no way involved and neither were any other Marsaxlokk officials. In the judgement, magistrate Micallef Trigona said that it “was abundantly clear” that, on the day before the match, the accused had approached goalkeeper Darmanin to ask him to give Slaven Belupo a three-goal advantage. The magistrate noted that referee Joe Attard had received two phone calls on the day before the match, the first originating from a landline traced back to coach Pelinku and the other from goalkeeper Darmanin. Pelinku could not explain why the first call had been made. The magistrate found both Pelinku and Attard guilty of trying to bribe Darmanin and handed down a six-month jail term suspended for a year and fined them 500 euro each.

Source: Times of Malta