IPOH: In its bid to curb match-fixing in the country, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) is in constant communication with FIFA and Interpol on match-fixing activities occurring worldwide.
FAM secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said match-fixing was a global threat and the association would take the necessary precautions.
“It will definitely be an uphill task. But with rigorous support from local law enforcement agencies and an integrity system in place, we expect to maintain our integrity in the sport at the highest level,” he said when contacted by The Star.
Malaysian football was tainted by match-fixing in the 1993-1994 season, leading to FAM banning 84 players nationwide in 1994.
Some of the offenders were banished under the Restricted Residence Act while others were suspended from playing.
Hamidin said most of the players implicated were suspended from football activities in 1994 for one to five years except for six players who received lifetime bans.
After the players appealed in August 1999, FAM decided that they were allowed to participate only in state-level competitions and not national competitions.
“The players then made a collective appeal on April 8 this year to have their restrictions lifted.
“FAM, upon consultation with FIFA, AFC (Asian Football Confederation) and UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) permitted these players to be involved in football activities in the country with any football associations, clubs and football teams subject to integrity checks.
“On the six players who are serving lifetime bans, we will appeal to the AFC and FIFA to lift their sentences. I’ve watched them play and they were good footballers at the time,” Hamidin added.
Malaysia is now No. 174 in the FIFA world ranking, its worst position ever.
In 2010, FAM set up an integrity committee comprising senior officials from the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to tackle corruption and match-fixing.
Hamidin said the committee was tasked with vetting officials and players, as well as monitoring the M-League to ensure that they were free from match-fixing.
The association also ordered its state affiliates to set up a coordination and integrity unit, which works with the authorities to monitor and investigate claims of match-fixing.
“In addition, our integrity committee has formulated awareness programmes conducted by the integrity department involving players, officials and coaches supported by the state FAs’ respective integrity committee,” said Hamidin.
Two years ago, it became compulsory for players, team officials and referees in the M-League to declare their assets.
On Monday, MACC said it would continue to assist FAM in tackling corruption.
FAM was given the green light to introduce FIFA’s Early Warning System (EWS) to spot irregular betting patterns in the M-League.
The EWS, used by FIFA at the World Cup level, watches over football matches by analysing the sport’s betting market and providing comprehensive reports to the international body.
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