FAM: Phantom teams to be vetted to curb match-fixing

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PETALING JAYA, Jan 23 — The FA of Malaysia (FAM) are taking steps to curb match-fixing activities, including syndicates flying in teams to play dubious matches in Malaysia.

“We have learnt from the Zimbabwe saga and there will not be a repeat under my watch, that I assure you,” said FAM general-secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin, referring to a Zimbabwe club side that masqueraded as its national team in 2009.

“We have had meetings with our integrity committee. All I can say is the authorities will act against any Malaysian suspected of fixing matches.”

The integrity committee, formed in 2012, comprises representatives from the police, namely the vice, gambling and secret societies division (D7), and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Hamidin said any foreign team seeking a match with a Malaysian team, including the national team, would be vetted thoroughly before being allowed to play in the country.

He said the national body was determined to weed out corruption in the M-League.

Gambling websites have been monitoring the domestic leagues — including the President’s Cup and the King’s Gold Cup — and a string of players and coaches have been charged over the years for their involvement with bookies.

Malaysians were said to be in the thick of global betting syndicates, which have now penetrated the Indian sub-continent, with connections in England, Australia and even Brunei.

A Malaysian syndicate had apparently contacted Mumbai FC and invited them to play friendly matches in Malaysia with all expenses borne by the match-fixers.

The Malay Mail, in its July 13, 2009 issue (Con Deal?) revealed Monomotapa United FC had disguised themselves as the Zimbabwe national team when they played two friendly matches against Malaysia.

The visitors lost 4-0 and 1-0 to Datuk K. Rajagobal’s side.

Zimbabwe FA chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya was sacked, while several players and officials were slapped with bans following the fiasco.

Rushwaya was charged in court for alleged corrupt practices but was acquitted last September.

However, she is still serving a ban from all footballing activities.

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