KUALA LUMPUR: The Thai FA has opened an investigation into match-fixing claims with perfect timing, just as the Asian confederation and Interpol are in the middle of a conference to discuss the issue.
In Thailand controversy has swirled around allegations that fixers tried to rig the result of November’s FA Cup Final in which Buriram United beat Army United 2-1.
Later Japanese official Yoshida Toshimitsu reported to the AFC that he was offered money to favour one of the two teams.
This comes hard on further airing of concern over a global football betting operation being masterminded out of Singapore.
Worawi Makudi, the Thai FA president and FIFA executive committee member, said: “We have already received the report the Japanese referee sent. I’ll discuss the incident with FIFA and AFC officials as well as with Interpol when I travel to Malaysia for the seminar about the problem of match-fixing.
“We have already sent them all the relevant evidence we have about the game in question. However, we will also be discussing the issue at the association’s board meeting. We already have a committee to take care of the matter.”
The conference was launched by a warning from AFC acting president ZXhang Jilong that the “cancer” of football match-fixing was a pandemic which is too big for one organisation to tackle alone.
Zhang, who served as the chairman of the Asian Football Confederation’s Finance Committee during the final years of Mohammed Bin Hammam’s reign as AFC president before the Qatari was banned for life by FIFA for corruption and bribery, said cooperation was required to tackle the problem.
“We are ready to work hand in hand to eradicate this cancer from the game. Match-fixing is too complicated and widespread for one organisation to fight it alone. No continent is now left untouched by this disease. Match-fixing is now a pandemic in the world football.”
The lack of arrests in the global match-fixing case, that has been reported on in Singapore newspapers for years, have led to criticism but FIFA director of security Ralf Mutshke said that the issue was above their jurisdiction.
“This is a question basically for law enforcement on one side and a problem which politicians have to solve. This is a criminal case. It has nothing to do with our responsibility.”
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