El Salvador players claim they have been offered a bribe ahead of a World Cup qualifier ©Getty Images

El Salvador's football team have played an audio recording allegedly showing how they were offered bribes in order to "fix" a World Cup qualifying game against Canada due to take place today in Vancouver.

At a news conference attended by the entire team as well as their coaches, team captain Nelson Bonilla claimed they had been approached by a Salvadoran businessman. 

They then played an 11-minute audio recording in which they were allegedly promised varying amounts of money depending on the result and the time each player stayed on the pitch.

Amounts offered seemingly ranged from $30 (£22/€26) a minute for a win to $10 (£7.30/€8.80) a minute in a 1-0 defeat.

“In reference to what we heard, we want to make it clear that we are against anything of this kind,” Bonilla said. 

“We want to be transparent about everything that has happened with the national team.”

Salvadoran newspaper La Prensa Gráfica named the businessman as Ricardo Padilla.

He reportedly told the newspaper that he acted on behalf of an unnamed Honduran businessman, but claims he was doing nothing wrong as he was not asking the players to throw the game.

El Salvador captain Nelson Bonilla outlined how they were approached by a businessman ahead of the qualifier ©Getty Images
El Salvador captain Nelson Bonilla outlined how they were approached by a businessman ahead of the qualifier ©Getty Images

El Salvador already have no chance of securing one of three World Cup qualifying spots available for the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).

But a heavy defeat for El Salvador could enhance Canadian hopes of qualifying at the expense of Honduras.

FIFA banned 22 El Salvador national team players for life in 2013 and 2014 for match fixing in friendlies and CONCACAF Gold Cup matches, played by El Salvador's national “A” team, in 2010.

But the latest situation is particularly tense considering the uneasy historical relations between El Salvador and Honduras.

In 1969, tension between the two nations escalated with a 1970 World Cup qualifier leading to border clashes in which around 3,000 people were killed.

The incident, known as the “Soccer War”, lasted for 100 hours before a ceasefire was negotiated and is one of the most infamous examples of sport and politics overlapping.

Honduras have to play Mexico in the final round of Group A matches. 

Three CONCACAF nations automatically qualify for the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia, with a fourth entering a play-off against a team from the Asian Football Confederation.

"FIFA is aware of the claims made by the El Salvadorian national football squad in relation to match fixing at the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup," a spokesperson told insidethegames.

"In co-operation with the respective organisations and authorities, FIFA is looking into this matter.

"FIFA does [not] comment on whether or not investigations are underway into alleged cases of match manipulation so as not to compromise any possible investigations."