IPOH: For players involved in match-fixing, they recounted a life that had been hellish as they dealt with death threats from bookies.
Former Perak state player P. Ravindran recalled that two cars were waiting for him outside his home after a match in the Klang Valley.
“It was the 1992 season. We had not followed the bookies’ instructions for two games. The moment they lost, they warned us with guns,” he said.
“I had scored the winning goals in those two games and they were not happy. They asked why had I not played accordingly,” he added.
Ravindran, who was one of the 84 footballers who were banned, is among three players involved in the 1993-1994 match-fixing scandal.
He spoke to The Star following the lifting of the ban on May 9.
Now in his 50s, he recounted how he was approached by the bookies in 1992.
“One of them had posed as a reporter and got my phone number. Later, I got a call asking me if I wanted to join my teammates in fixing matches.
“He also told me that I would lose out if I did not join them,” he said.
Ravindran said he spoke to his teammates and they admitted to getting similar calls earlier.
“My teammates encouraged me to do it. We were greedy then. We had wanted more money,” he admitted.
He said the Perak team’s performance was shaky in 1992 with the players making dubious moves and questionable tackles.
By then, he said the team manager had already reported some of the players to the then Anti-Corruption Agency (BPR).
“He suspected four players including me. He called BPR to warn us and we were investigated. We lied to the BPR that we had already given our best,” he said.
After he was banished to Kemaman, Terengganu, Ravindran said he was still getting calls from bookies trying to hook him up with the players in the east coast to fix matches.
“I told them I’ve had enough of this and that it was about time they left me and my family alone,” he said.
Aziz Azizan, who played for Penang, said most of them were earning low wages then.
“The average salary for players like us was about RM1,500. Some of us didn’t even get our pay on time. It was a burden to my family.
“The bookies took advantage of this and approached us. We got involved because it was quick money,” he said.
He said there would also be middleman or the bookies would go through the referees or approach the players directly.
Aziz claimed he had been threatened by the bookies for not agreeing to their terms.
“Most of us, as young upstarts, were not mature enough then. We did not realise the consequences,” he said.
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