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Thai football rocked by match-fixing scandal, twelve arrested including referees

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Just weeks after the conclusion of the 2017 season of the Thai League, Thai football was shocked by the arrest of 12 match-fixing suspects on Tuesday.

The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) and The Royal Thai Police have worked together to investigate the allegations of match-fixing which led to the arrests, and issued a press statement.

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Five of those arrested are Navy Football Club players; Suthipong Laoporn, Suvitthaya Namsinlak, Seksan Chaothonglang and goalkeeper Narong Wongthongkham, as well as Nakhonratchasima Mazda FC goalkeeper Veera Kerdpudsa.

Shockingly, two of the twelve arrested are referees; Phumrin Khamruen and Theerachit Sitthisuk, and also Sisaket FC director Cherdsak Boonchu.

The remaining four are believed to be the syndicate's contacts Wallop Saman, Kittiphum Paphunga, Setprasit Kamolwattana and Pakphum Punnikul.

“Match-fixing has taken place for a long time. It's time we eradicate it, which is like a disease that needs to be cured,” FA Thailand President Pol.Gen. Somyot Poompanmoung said during the press conference. Poompanmoung is also a former commissioner-general of the Royal Thai Police.

The move has been applauded by the president of the Asian Football Confederation Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.

“FA Thailand, with its recent actions, has sent a strong signal to all criminal elements that their actions will be contested with full force.

“I congratulate FA Thailand for taking a firm stand against the menace of match-fixing and am more confident than ever before, that our dedicated and joint efforts together with the law enforcement agencies can bring this scourge to an end,” said Salman in a statement.