Asian hand in football’s fixing saga runs deep

  • Agencies, Sydney
  • |
  • Updated: Feb 07, 2013 02:28 IST

While there was some shock at the extent of the match-fixing revealed in Monday's Europol report, there can be little surprise the fixers were based in Singapore given the history of corruption in Asian soccer.

From China's 'golden whistles' scandal of the early 2000s to the 41 players from South Korea's K-League banned by FIFA for match-fixing just last month, the taint of corruption has rarely been far from the game in the world's most populous continent.

European anti-crime agency Europol on Monday blamed criminal syndicates based in Singapore for fixing hundreds of matches in a global scam over three years from 2008.

The driving force behind the match-fixing is the huge amount of money gambled on soccer on the continent.

Chris Eaton, former head of security at FIFA and now head of an anti-corruption watchdog, estimates $3 billion a day is bet on sport, most of it on soccer and most related to South East Asia.

The Europol report said German police had proof 8 million euros ($11 million) had been made in gambling profits from the scam but it was probably the tip of the iceberg.

In China, where betting is outlawed outside the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, one expert at Peking University estimated that illegal gambling was worth $150 billion a year in 2009.

No contact from Europol: Debrecen
Budapest: Hungarian football side Debrecen said Wednesday that they have had no contact from Europol in connection with match-fixing allegations surrounding a Champions League match in 2009.

Reports in Denmark and elsewhere speculated that the match was Liverpool's 1-0 win over Debrecen at Anfield in 2009.

The Debrecen goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic was banned by UEFA for two years for failing to report approaches from fixers in 2009 but the charge at the time only specified a tie against Fiorentina.


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