Samuel Eto'o Barcelona
Samuel Eto'o played for many top clubs including Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea Wikimedia Commons

Football legend Samuel Eto'o is being investigated by police in Cameroon for allegedly being part of a match-fixing scandal.

The former FC Barcelona and Chelsea striker has been the president of the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot) since December 2021. Eto'o has been accused of rigging matches in Cameroon's second tier.

Allegations against 42-year-old Eto'o were first made earlier this year in July. The scandal broke out after a recording was leaked of a conversation between Eto'o and Victoria United FC president Valentine Nkwain, also known as Bobdidy.

Allegations against Eto'o

Eto'o allegedly promised to promote Victoria FC from the second division to Cameroon's top-flight by manipulating matches, reported French media outlet Camfoot.

While speaking to Nkwain, Eto'o allegedly said: "There are things we can do - but you have to be very discreet, brother. Don't worry, we'll give you your three points and we will suspend the referee. Opopo must go up to the first division. This is our goal. This is our federation. Victoria United will go up."

Notably, Victoria FC went on to get promoted to Elite One, Cameroon's highest division in league football.

Police open investigation

Police have opened an investigation into alleged "abuse of authority and corruption". It is understood that police officers have already interviewed several key witnesses involved in the case. The investigation will also look into broader charges of corruption at Fecafoot during Eto'o's tenure, which it is thought could involve around 40 people.

However, Eto'o and Nkwain have denied these claims and the latter has also said that it was not his voice on the recording.

In a recent interview, Eto'o said he was "talking to a friend, someone who invests in football and wants to make his club one of the best in Cameroon".

"I just reassured him by saying that I would have done everything possible to avoid any refereeing errors against him," the former Inter Milan star added.

Other issues against Eto'o

The news about Eto'o's possible involvement in match-fixing has come after a group of Cameroon's football officials urged FIFA to take action against the former Barcelona striker following a series of public incidents, including a "violent altercation" with an Algerian journalist at the World Cup in Qatar last year.

The group, which includes Pierre Semengue, president of the Professional Football League of Cameroon, has reportedly written a letter jointly addressing FIFA's president, Gianni Infantino, and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) president, Patrice Motsepe, enquiring how Eto'o has been allowed to continue "to illegally impose himself on the Fecafoot presidency".

An investigation into "certain alleged improper conduct" of Eto'o was opened by CAF in early August but no action has been taken as yet.

Eto'o is regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, winning the African Player of the Year a record four times: in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2010.

Having caught the attention of top clubs at a very young age, Eto'o joined Real Madrid's academy at the age of 15. He did make a few appearances for Los Blancos' senior side, but due to competition in his position with more experienced players, he had several loan spells. Eto'o then went on to sign with another La Liga club, Mallorca in 2000, where he netted 70 goals, which still remains a club record.

Eto'o then moved to FC Barcelona, where he had his career's most successful run, winning two Champions League titles and three La Liga trophies among other silverware.

The Cameroon striker won the Champions League with Inter Milan as well during the 2009-10 season. He also played for Chelsea but only for a season, where he scored 12 goals, including strikes against Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and a hat-trick against Manchester United.