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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 3, 2008

Asian chief speaks out against corruption

SINGAPORE, April 3 (Reuters) - Bribery and match-fixing are scourges which are destroying soccer, the head of the Asian Football Confederation said on Thursday, vowing to stamp them out and keep the continent's soccer clean. AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam praised Singapore's swift action in reporting a case of attempted match-fixing of an AFC Cup match this week and vowed to get to the bottom of the matter. 'Bribery and match-fixing by illegal betting syndicates are scourges ... AFC will take all possible measures to fight against such elements who are corrupting the game,' Bin Hammam said. Singapore's Football Association alerted the AFC and Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau late on Tuesday after an unidentified man approached two players from Maldives side Victory SC and offered them bribes to throw their match against Home United. Victory lost the match to their Singaporean hosts 2-1 on Wednesday and an investigation has already been launched into the incident by AFC. 'AFC welcomes the initiative and urgency shown by FAS in this matter,' said Bin Hammam in a statement. 'The FAS and AFC share the same view that match-fixing is a cancer which damages the integrity of football, the teams and ultimately the players. 'We will pursue this matter to its logical end and concentrate our energies on finding out the truth.' Asian soccer has long been blighted by corruption scandals. Last year, a Vietnamese court sentenced four referees to jail for bribery and match-fixing. In November, Interpol uncovered $680 million worth of illegal soccer betting across Asia after a series of raids. Planning for the raids took place from June and was timed to match the start of major regional seasons, with illegal betting found in Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

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