4th February, 2014
Malaysia’s football association has fined 17 more players for match-fixing, reports said Tuesday, in a widening scandal highlighting persistent corruption in the country’s leagues.
In December, five players on Kuala Lumpur’s squad and three officials were fined and banned for life in the scandal, but the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) let their 17 teammates off with mere fines on Monday, saying they were threatened by bookies to cheat.
“Our investigations revealed that the players had no option. They were threatened with physical harm by the bookies,” FAM disciplinary committee chairman Taufek Abdul Razak was quoted by The Star newspaper as saying.
“The players wanted to report to the authorities but feared for their safety. In fact, some of the players were beaten up,” he added.
The players were fined 5,000 ringgit ($1,500) each.
Taufek added at least five Kuala Lumpur Football Association officials were expected to be charged soon with match-fixing over a deal signed in late 2012 with a sponsor who “was allowed to dictate the performance of the team”.
He did not elaborate further. Reports did not clarify how many games were affected.
Taufek and other FAM officials could not immediately be reached for further comments.
After a dire season the Kuala Lumpur team have been relegated to the third-tier FAM Cup competition this season.
Allegations of match-fixing have long tainted football in Malaysia.
In 2012, FAM suspended 18 youth players and banned a coach for life for fixing matches.
During a crisis in 1994, 21 players and coaches were sacked, 58 players were suspended and 126 players questioned over corruption.