MALAYSIA: Players and officials of a Malaysian state soccer team have been slapped with a two-week suspension while an investigation takes place into possible corruption, according to a local media report.
The Perak Football Association will ask the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to probe the team’s shambolic Malaysia Cup campaign, the Star newspaper reported.
“We suspect elements of sabotage and corruption had crept into the Perak squad over the last three or four matches, culminating in the disastrous 6-1 defeat by Sarawak on Saturday,” Perak FA deputy president Khairul Azwan Harun was quoted as saying after Monday’s emergency meeting in Ipoh.
A Perak FA special task force would also carry out an investigation and come out with a report within two weeks, he said.
“While the investigations are going on, all the suspended players and officials will be asked not to leave Ipoh.”
After a strong start to their Group D campaign, Perak lost their last three matches to miss out on a place in the last eight.
“There was something fishy going on in the team,” chief coach Azraai said.
“I welcome the probe on everybody in the squad, including myself, as we will know if there were unlawful elements involved,” added the coach saying he was let down by several players.
The suspension follows the arrest last week of the ‘mastermind’ of the world’s largest soccer match-fixing syndicate, believed to be Singaporean Tan Seet Eng.
European police shone a spotlight on Southeast Asia in February when they announced a Singapore-based syndicate had directed match-fixing for at least 380 soccer games in Europe alone, making at least eight million Euros (U.S. $10.81 million).
Australian police last week smashed a multi-million dollar fixing ring centered on a second tier domestic league and said the operation had links with betting syndicates in Malaysia and Hungary.