World Cup-bound Saudi referee given red card following bribery charges
A Saudi referee who is due to officiate at this summer's World Cup in Russia has been banned for life by the Saudi Football Federation following after reportedly admitting to bribery.
Fahad al-Mirdasi is still in the pool of referees for the World Cup with the Saudi Football Federation urging FIFA to ban the official.
The federation accused the referee of asking Saudi club al-Ittihad head for a bribe, just hours before his team's King's Cup final clash with al-Faisaly which Mirdasi was due to officiate.
"Ittihad President Hamad al-Sanayeh called the Saudi Football Federation to state there was evidence that Fahad al-Mirdasi had reached out via text messages on WhatsApp. He asked for an illegal sum of money in exchange for helping his team win the game," the federation's disciplinary and ethics committee said in a statement.
He was then pulled from the game with an investigation into the referee by the ethics committee.
Mirdasi eventually confessed to soliciting Sanayeh for money to influence the outcome of the match, which resulted in the Saudi star being given a lifetime ban.
Saudi Arabia's Football Federation is now asking FIFA to ban the referee for life and withdraw him from the World Cup.
Mirdasi was once the golden boy of the Saudi Football Federation, refereeing in 2016 Rio Olympics and 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.
He was one of five Arab referees chosen to officiate in the 2018 World Cup.