Colombia captain Radamel Falcao has admitted that he discussed scoreline permutations with opposing Peru players during the latter stages of Monday night’s World Cup qualifier between the two sides.
With the score stood at 1-1 and roughly five minutes left to play, Falcao was seen nattering away with several Peruvian players individually.
It was speculated that the striker was informing his opponents that, due to results elsewhere, the draw would be mutually beneficial as it would see Colombia qualify and Peru make it into the play-offs.
— Lucas Beltramo (@LucasBeltramo) October 11, 2017
As you might expect, the covert conversations have not been greeted favourably by certain sections of the South American media, some of whom have accused both Peru and Colombia of curtailing their respective pushes for a late winner after Falcao’s intervention.
A win would have seen the former qualify automatically, but a defeat would have knocked them out of the running entirely. As is, the Blanquirroja face a two-legged play-off against New Zealand.
Asked about the nature of his little on-pitch chat, Falcao told reporters after the match (via ESPN):
Obviously we were aware of what was going on in the other games, we were playing with knowledge of the other results and, in that moment, [I wanted] to make that known.
One of the Peruvian defenders approached by Falcao, Renato Tapia, later confirmed to Panamerica Television that the “situation” was indeed discussed but that no clandestine pact was forged between the two parties:
In the last five minutes, the Colombians approached us. They knew what the situation was in the other games.
So we managed the game as we had to. I spoke with Radamel, who told me we were both in, but it’s football and we play to win.
Unsurprisingly, FIFA have taken a dim view of the possible collusion on display, confirming that they are now “reviewing and analysing” the footage above – footage they describe as potentially requiring “further attention”.
Thankfully, a potential lip-reading snare was been circumvented by Falcao adopting the now ubiquitous Sneaky Pete™ hand-over-mouth technique.
While obviously a cause for minor concern, without somebody grassing him up, it’s fairly unlikely that FIFA will be able to make anything stick.