The beautiful game has been tarnished by the recent match-fixing virus, spreading to almost 400 matches in Europe alone.
A Singaporean syndicate is said to be the mastermind behind this plague and hundreds of decisions are now being called into question as fans begin to doubt the very authenticity of the game.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Interpol recently organized a seminar in Kuala Lumpur to discuss ways to curb match fixing, and AFC Secretary General Dato’ Alex Soosay shared his thoughts on this issue.
“Match fixing is an ever spreading virus, but it is one that can be stopped with some concerted effort. AFC and Interpol will hold regular seminars in association with FIFA and Interpol on training, education and prevention initiatives on match fixing and football in general,” said Dato’ Alex to Goal.com.
This match-fixing pandemic has certainly escalated to new heights after the revelation of some 380 cases affecting European matches. Football bookies have indeed taken a stranglehold on the game, having connections worldwide as they rule the roost to cater to the insatiable appetite of betting amongst hardcore gamblers. But Dato Alex’ says even though the influence of bookies is spreading, they can be stopped with the help of all the authorities concerned.
“We will have to fight this menace together. FIFA and AFC cannot fight this battle alone and needs the support and cooperation of law enforcement agencies and government in investigating and making stricter laws to fight the syndicate,” Dato Alex explained.
Touching on the recent lifetime ban handed to former Selangor defender Ramez Dayoub, Goal.com asked the Secretary General for his opinion on the issue, and he said AFC is fully behind the Lebanese Football Association.
“We will fully support the action taken by our Member Association following thorough investigations. We have also asked the Lebanese Football Association to provide us with the full investigation report and we will take it from there,” he said.
Asian football’s reputation has also been dented with the recent revelations of match fixing, with a Singaporean mastermind controlling matches in Europe, while the suspended Ramez Dayoub and Mahmoud El-Ali plied their trade in the Malaysian and Indonesian leagues respectively.
Dato’ Alex, however, reiterates that this problem is a global threat and applauded the respective Associations for their quick response.
“This problem is not only a concern for Asia but the entire world. We must appreciate the Football Association of Singapore, the Lebanese Football Association, the Korean Football Association as well as the Malaysian Football Association for taking stringent measures, which will help Asian football in a big way,” he said.