Young players with expensive handphones raised alarms


FAM calling graft busters

THE Football Association of Malaysia will lodge a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) next week that bookies have approached the President’s Cup players to fix matches.

FAM general secretary Datuk Azzudin Ahmad confirmed that officials would meet representatives of the MACC after the FA Cup final between Selangor and Kelantan at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday.

“We will lodge the report with the MACC after the FA Cup final. I admit it is impossible to eradicate this problem.

The bookies are very smooth.

“But we need to send a strong signal to the players, officials and bookmakers.” Azzudin said FAM’s decision was prompted largely by the Malay Mail probe into the scandal.

The frontpage report was published on April 14, revealing that bookies were targeting players as young as 18 and 19.

Team officials began having suspicions when these youngsters started showing up for training in souped up cars, carrying fancy gadgets and expensive handphones.

The players’ lavish lifestyles contradicted the fact that they were not paid that much, being in the minor league; or on time, for that matter.

They make between RM800 and RM1,200 per month. Some coaches and football officials also began to notice that their performances were “erratic”, prompting concerns that bookies had managed to influence them.

It was learnt that a senior official had brought his suspicions to the attention of the competitions committee on April 9 but this was denied by FAM. Forums such as regularly monitor the results of President’s Cup matches.

Other betting sites, such as SoccerPunter and SoccerWay, provide real time results and betting odds on the domestic leagues, including the upcoming FA Cup final.

The Malay Mail probe also revealed that local financial institutions were being used to transfer bets virtually without hassle.

Pundits have named several local banks where winnings were easily deposited.

This raises the question as to whether the banks are aware that these transactions – done using credit cards, online banking or bank draft – are illegal.

Federal Criminal Investigation Department principal assistant director SAC II Datuk Ahmad Sofian Mohd Yasin confirmed that their investigations into matchfixing, which had initially been confined to the senior players, had now been expanded to include players in the President’s Cup.

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