Saudi Arabia’s football federation has banned referee Fahad al-Mirdasi for life over match fixing just few weeks before he was expected to appear in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

SAFF said Mirdasi confessed to offering to fix the King’s Cup final that took place last Saturday in Jeddah and asked FIFA to hand a global ban to the referee and remove him from the upcoming tournament.

At 32, Mirdasi was seen as one of the most promising prospects for refereeing in the kingdom and Asia. He officiated in last year’s Confederations Cup in Russia as well as the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

The federation said Mirdasi sent WhatsApp messages to a top official from Ittihad club seeking payment to help them win against al-Faisaly in the final match. English referee Mark Clattenburg, who was appointed Head of Refereeing at SAFF last year, replaced Mirdasi in officiating the game which ended with victory for Ittihad.