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Greed stronger cause of match-fixing than unpaid wage, says MACC's Azam

3:25 PM GMT+4 14/02/2019
Shahril Mokhtar, Selangor, Azam Baki, 14022019
The Red Giants are considering two drastic measures to stop the risk of their players being approached by match-fixers.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Despite the fact that an increasing number of footballers in Malaysia are not receiving their wages on time, the country's anti-corruption agency does not believe that the problem will encourage match-fixing.

According to Datuk Seri Azam Baki, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy commissioner of operations, he believes that greed has always been the strongest cause among match-fixing athletes.

He said this as a response to a question by the press, following the integrity pledge ceremony held by the Selangor FA (FAS) in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. He is also the chairman of the association's integrity committee.

"According to our study, yes, overdue wage payment is one of the factors of match-fixing. It increases the tendency of footballers getting involved, but it's only one of the many factors.

"One of the biggest contributors is greed. There had been national athletes who were living beyond their means. Some of them were financially comfortable, but they didn't know how to manage their money. Some wanted more, or wasted it womanising, which in turn caused them to need even more money, and led to them getting involved in illicit behaviours. These are how they were eventually approached by criminal elements.

"So far, there have been no reports made saying that footballers are fixing matches due to them not being paid on time," explained the lawman.

Speaking on the pledge held by the Red Giants, which included their men's, youth, futsal and women's teams and officials, association president Datuk Seri Shahril Mokhtar revealed that they are planning to go beyond mere beginning-of-season pledges.

"With MACC's cooperation, we want our integrity drive to be an exceptional one. We are the only [Malaysian] team so far to have come up with an integrity plan.

"We've produced a guide book for our players and officials to identify corrupt behaviours, and the book includes direct contact details to the agency investigators, should we spot any corrupt behaviours," remarked the official.

Azam meanwhile proposed two extensive steps to stop the risk of match-fixing approaching players.

"Among the things we'll discuss further; I've proposed that the players' mobile phones be taken away from them four hours before every match. This is to ensure that they are not able to communicate with outside figures. Maybe four hours, maybe five, we'll see.

"The other is for a players' welfare official to be appointed. The new official is not just tasked with personal financial issues, but also to attend to personal problems. Maybe it can be the same person who hangs on to their mobile phones," he said.

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