Dickson Etuhu, the former Manchester City midfielder and Nigeria international, has been hit with a five-year ban from Swedish sports for his involvement in match fixing.
Etuhu, who most recently played for IFK Rössjöholm, was banned alongside Alban Jusufi, another of that club’s former players, for a breach of Section 1.4 of the Swedish Football Association’s (SVFF) anti-match fixing regulations.
According to the SVFF, the pair attempted to bribe Etuhu’s former AIK Solna teammate, Kyriakos Stamatopoulos, now the club’s goalkeeping coach, to underperform in a match against IFK Göteborg on 16 May 2017.
The SVFF’s investigation revealed that Stamatopoulos was offered SEK2m to do so, only for the goalkeeper to instead report the match-fixing attempt. This resulted in the match, scheduled for 18 May 2017, being postponed.
Etuhu and Jusufi were convicted of attempted match-fixing in November 2019, though they avoided a prison term, and were instead sentenced to probation. Etuhu’s lawyers immediately pledged to appeal the conviction.
The SVFF disciplinary board noted that the maximum penalty was a ten-year ban from Swedish sports. In deciding Etuhu and Jusufi’s penalties, it noted that the offence related to the country’s top football division, and caused huge media attention.
It noted that the case led to other negative consequences and financial costs, such as rescheduling costs for the league, investigation costs and travel expenses for supporters.
“At the same time, it is possible to imagine cases of even more serious nature that must be accommodated within the scale of punishment, among other things. including successful [attempts at match fixing], or repeated offences.”
Therefore it opted to ban the pair for five years. This covers playing, training and any duties or roles related to sports in the country.
Etuhu began his career with Manchester City in 2000, and played for a number of English league clubs before moving to Sweden to join AIK in 2015. He played 33 times for the Nigerian national team, including at two African Cup of Nations tournaments and the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Jusufi, meanwhile, has played for lower league teams in countries such as Norway, Italy and Albania, as well as in his native Sweden.