El Salvador hands down lifetime bans to 14 national-team players for match fixing, suspends others

Rodolfo Zelaya

El Salvador's soccer federation (FESFUT) has slapped 14 current and former national teamers with lifetime bans due to their involvement with match fixing in four international games, including a 2-1 friendly loss to the US national team in 2010.

The punishment forbids the players from wearing their country's colors or competing in FESFUT-sanctioned competitions, and depending on FIFA's decisions in the days ahead, may also be applied to the players' careers abroad as well.

The list includes several MLS alumni: former D.C. United winger Christian Castillo, ex-Chivas USA loanee Osael Romero, ex-New York Red Bull Alfredo Pacheco and onetime San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Ramón Sánchez.

Several other players avoided lifetime penalties but were handed one-month, six-month or 18-month suspensions, including former D.C. playmaker Eliseo Quintanilla, who will be sidelined for six months for his role in the scandal.

The full list of Salvadoran players handed lifetime bans: Luis Anaya, Romero, Sánchez, Castillo, Miguel Granadino, Miguel Montes, Dagoberto Portillo, Dennis Alas (older brother of current San Jose winger Jaime Alas), Darwin Bonilla, Ramón Flores, Pacheco, Mardoqueo Henríquez, Marvin González and Reynaldo Hernández.

Further discipline may yet be handed out. FESFUT director Carlos Méndez Cabezas explained that Benji Villalobos, Rodrigo Martínez, Emerson Umaña and Rodolfo Zelaya (pictured above) – a longtime transfer target for several MLS clubs – have had their initial suspensions extended as further investigation is made into their respective cases. 

"We will continue to fight this worldwide scourge, with the support of FIFA, CONCACAF and UNCAF," said Cabezas, who also said the El Salvador Under-15 team has been warned about the dangers of match-fixing in order to prevent the issue from occurring among future generations of Cuscatlecos.