GEORGE TOWN: PBAPP FC and Felda United have denied any knowledge regarding the presence of alleged bookies during their Premier League encounter at the City Stadium in Penang.
Shortly after the final whistle had gone at Monday’s match, which Felda won 2-1, the fans set upon a man carrying a walkie-talkie in the grandstand area. The fans claimed that the man was a bookie as he was behaving suspiciously around the area used by players to enter the changing rooms.
The stadium’s security personnel had to pull the man away from the angry mob, and he was then escorted out of the stadium by policemen.
A check with the state police department revealed that there was no arrest. Neither was there any complaint lodged by any party regarding the matter.
A video of the incident has been uploaded to the Internet and is being shared on social media.
PBA coach Yunus Alif said there was no reason to suspect any match-fixing activities involving his players.
“I was giving an interview to the media by the side of the pitch when I saw the commotion in the grandstand area. I was only told later that the fans had apprehended someone whom they believed to be a bookie,” said Yunus.
“I am confident that my players are clean. I can tell if there is something fishy in the players’ performances, but so far I am glad that there is nothing for me to be suspicious about.”
His Felda United counterpart Irfan Bakti also rubbished the notion that his players could be involved with bookies.
“Felda have only lost one game all season, so I do not see where or how my players could have been involved with match-fixing. I am not aware of the incident at the City Stadium and as far as I am concerned, it has nothing to do with me or my team,” said Irfan.
Felda’s fifth straight victory, courtesy of an Edward Wilson penalty and a Ndumba Makeche strike, allowed the Planters to remain one point behind second-placed Penang, who beat Sabah 3-1 in Kota Kinabalu.
It was the ninth defeat of the season for basement side PBAPP FC, who replied through Mohd Faiz Nasir. The Waterboys are now five points away from safety with nine matches remaining.
“We have dug ourselves into a hole by losing eight of our 11 first round matches. But we can take many positives from our improved performances in the second round, including in the defeat to Felda.
“The hiring of the foreign players for the second round has helped the team tremendously, and we will fight on to ensure that we remain in the Premier League next year,” said Yunus.
The Penang club side were the only Premier League team to start the season with an all-local line-up, but have since hired Russian Aleksandrovich Boris, Australian Alexander Thomas and Ugandan duo Ochaya Luis and Kaye Edrisar during the mid-season transfer window in their bid to avoid relegation.