RIO DE JANEIRO - The referee for Sunday's decisive Brazilian championship match between Goias and Sao Paulo has been changed after the country's soccer federation (CBF) said it had been told of a plot to try and fix the result. The CBF said it trusted Wagner Tardelli, the official originally selected to take charge of the match on the last day of the season, but had decided to appoint a new official as a precaution. It did not give any details as to who might have been behind the attempted bribery or how the situation came to light. "On Saturday morning, the CBF received an alert that attempt was being made to manipulate the result of the Sao Paulo v Goias game," the CBF said on its website. "A new draw was made for the match in question, despite recognising the honesty and good character of referee Wagner Tardelli, who in 20 years of refereeing has always demonstrated the most correct behaviour and conduct. "The president of the CBF has ordered the legal department...to take all appropriate actions to ...identify those responsible for this attempt to manipulate the game." Referees for Brazilian championship matches are chosen by a draw held on the Friday before the weekend's games. Sao Paulo, three points clear of Gremio going into the final round of matches, need a draw to win the title for the third successive year. Goias are officially at home but the match will be played in Brasilia as they begin a two-match home ban following an incident in a previous game. Gremio are at home to Atletico Mineiro and will take the title on the number of victories if they win and Sao Paulo lose. Jailson Macedo Freitas was drawn to take charge of the game instead of Tardelli, who said he accepted the decision. "I'm ready and capable of refereeing the match. But, as a result of this incident.... the CBF did the right thing in holding a new draw," Tardelli said. "I'm more interested than anyone else in seeing that the facts come to light." Brazil was hit by a match-fixing scandal in 2005 when referee Edilson Pereira de Carvalho admitted he had accepted money from a gambling ring to influence the result of games. Carvalho was banned for life and the 11 Brazilian championship matches he refereed ordered to be replayed. That decision itself caused controversy as Corinthians, involved in two of Carvalho's games, picked up an extra four points in the replayed matches and won the title by three points from Internacional. Internacional were involved in one match refereed by Carvalho, winning both the original and the replay.
7 December 2008
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