Nearing the completion of a match-fixing investigation that began in late August, the Federación Salvadoreña de Fútbol handed down 14 lifetime bans on Friday. Four players, including star forward Rodolfo Zelaya, remain under investigation.
In an official FESFUT release, the federation emphasized that the investigation is still ongoing, after new information suggested that a 2-1 friendly loss at Venezuela on May 22 could have also been fixed. Venezuela scored two second-half penalties to win the match after El Salvador scored first.
The four matches in question are: friendly losses to D.C. United and the United States in 2010, a 5-0 loss to Mexico in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup and a 3-0 away loss to Paraguay on Feb. 6, 2013.
The 14 players who have been banned for life are: Luis Anaya, Osael Romero, Ramón Sánchez, Christian Castillo, Miguel Granadino, Miguel Montes, Dagoberto Portillo, Dennis Alas, Darwin Bonilla, Ramón Flores, Alfredo Pacheco, Mardoqueo Henríquez, Marvin González and Reynaldo Hernández.
Romeo Monteagudo has been suspended for 18 months, while Eliseo Quintanilla and Víctor Turcios are banned for six months. Resolutions in the investigation of Benji Villalobos, Rodrigo Martínez, Rodolfo Zelaya and Emerson Umaña are expected within the next month.
Only Carlos Carillo has been cleared of all charges from the initial list of 22 players suspended in August.
Yimmy Cuéllar, Alexander Escobar and Christian Sánchez are provisionally suspended for one month while the investigation into the Venezuela match continues.
“The work of the Disciplinary Committee has been exhaustive, has taken into account all types of information acquired by interviews, videos and testimonials from people who have had the courage to declare and provide [them],” FESFUT president Carlos Méndez Cabezas said. “We want to set an example for current and future generations to be alert, not to be enveloped in negative actions, spoiling years of dedication and sacrifice in soccer and ending their athletic careers at the same time as destroying the life force of the enormous love that our country has.”
The suspensions only apply to El Salvadorian competitions and national team participation. It will be up to FIFA to enforce the bans worldwide. Turcios and Ramón Sánchez are the only players involved who play for clubs overseas.