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FAM angry over match-fixing charge

February 20, 2012

FAM has demanded that the FIFA security chief explain his allegations of match fixing.

KUALA LUMPUR:  The Football Association of Malaysia has demanded that FIFA’s security chief explain his recent allegation that Malaysian soccer officials had been linked to match-fixing.

FIFA’s head of security Chris Eaton was quoted by Singapore’s Straits Times last week as saying “there is an investigation linking football administration officials in Malaysia and globally to match-fixing in Southeast Asia”.

The charge has prompted a testy response from Malaysia’s football body, which said Eaton’s comments were “uncalled-for” and has demanded evidence in a letter that it said was sent to the security chief on Thursday.

“We view this matter seriously and wish to impress upon you that such a media release is uncalled-for as we were not notified,” FAM Secretary-General Azzuddin Ahmad said in the letter.

“This has, in a way, tarnished our association’s image. The FAM would appreciate if you could furnish us with details of the investigation that is taking place.”

AFP obtained a copy of the letter on Monday.

In a subsequent statement, Azzuddin said FAM “regrets” the newspaper report and repeated its call for FIFA to “provide evidence if there is any basis to suspect that officers of the association are involved.”

Longstanding concerns over match-fixing in Malaysia have spiked recently after FAM earlier this month suspended 18 youth players and banned a coach for life for fixing matches.

The players from three clubs were suspended for between two and five years for fixing matches in the national under-20 President’s Cup last year.

In the wake of those revelations, Azzuddin said FAM also was investigating three teams in the country’s top football league for match-fixing, but he has declined to provide details with the probe under way.

FIFA said on Friday that Eaton would leave in May to become director of sports integrity with the Doha-based International Centre for Sport Security.

Football is the most popular sport in Malaysia, which in the 1970s had one of Asia’s best teams, but the national squad has seen a period of decline amid a series of match-fixing incidents over the years.

– AFP


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