REUTERS - Claims of match-fixing in a Malaysian league fixture will be investigated by the country’s Football Association (FAM) and sports minister on Thursday, local media reported, with the police urged to protect players from bookmakers.
The second tier Malaysian Premier League match between Kuala Lumpur and Sime Darby was under suspicion, local daily The Star reported.
The paper said banners were seen at the Cheras Stadium in the Malaysian capital with the message ‘Bookie detected’. Sime Darby won the match 5-0.
“We have to look into this allegation of match-fixing seriously,” FAM deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah told reporters.
“We will discuss it with the sports minister on Thursday.”
The police would also attend the meeting along with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the paper added.
Malaysia has a long history of match-fixing issues with referees and players routinely punished.
Newly appointed Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has promised to tackle the issue which has blighted the development of soccer in the region.
High profile cases have emerged in Lebanon, China and South Korea in recent years with Europol, the European anti-crime agency, claiming Singapore was the centre of a rigging ring.
Ahmad Shah said that Malaysia-based players, on much lower salaries than their European counterparts, needed police protection to avoid match-fixing circles.
“The police need keep a close eye regarding the threats. The players must not get close to the bookies. Once you open up, you will have to face the consequences,” he said. (Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by John O‘Brien)