Sept 5 (Reuters) - The Malaysian government has launched a probe into alleged soccer match-fixing after a top goalkeeper fumbled the ball into his own net in a crunch Malaysia Cup match.
Terengganu’s English manager Peter Butler hauled Sharbinee Allawee off the pitch after he had clumsily palmed the ball into the net to allow Kedah to equalise on Saturday, then vowed the international’s days at the club were over.
“We don’t need such players,” he blasted. “We only want those who put in an honest effort.
“I can safely say that he won’t feature in the team anymore.”
Sharbinee, capped eight times by Malaysia, hurled a water bottle at his coach in the heat of Saturday’s substitution and vehemently rejects the suggestion his blunder was deliberate.
“It pains me to show my face in public whenever I bungle in a match but it hurts even more now when people accuse me of being corrupt,” he told local media, vowing to clear his name.
The government’s Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) is investigating the matter.
MACC director for Terengganu, a sultanate and state on Malaysia’s eastern coast, Md Yusoff Md Zain said that among those called up to give statements were Terengganu FA President Che Mat Jusoh and Sharbinee.
The agency had also recorded statements from other Terengganu FA personnel and players, he said, adding that the investigation was only in its initial stages.
Butler, a midfielder for West Ham and West Bromwich Albion during his playing days in England, has launched a one-man campaign to weed out indiscipline and corruption from Malaysian soccer.
Last week he kicked out two senior players — Muslim Ahmad and Ismail Faruqi — for allegedly breaking a curfew. The two have denied the allegations and have demanded an apology.
Terengganu FA president Che Mat Jusoh said the club’s management will meet later on Wednesday to attempt to resolve these issues.
Early on Tuesday Butler had said he was happy that most players and fans were supportive of him, but his tone had changed by Tuesday evening.
“Just heard I am getting fired tomorrow (...) interesting!” he posted on social media site Twitter. (Editing by Peter Rutherford)