Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fix the fixers or be damned

Bizarre game of moaning, groaning and heartache

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - The Malay Mail

if we called for the suspension of the M-League in the wake of fresh match-fixing allegations? What if we said teams with dubious players and officials should play to an empty stadium?
What if we said the authorities were inept in their action against suspected match-fixers in M-League teams? What if we demanded that the authorities step up surveillance and have a bigger presence in stadiums?
As a matter of fact, these measures to tackle football bribery should have been in place a long time ago.
The humiliation of Malaysian football continues. The fans are being ripped off — and no one is lifting a finger except to spew that mundane rhetoric: “We don’t have evidence.”
The Perak FA have suspended their Super League team coaches, officials and staff for two weeks over suspicion of internal sabotage and football bribery.
They have also lodged a police report and with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) but shockingly, it has come across as a minor episode to the sporting fraternity. Week in and week out, officials moan about:
  • Players making silly back passes
  • Goalkeepers making schoolboy errors
  • Defenders making half-hearted tackles
Coaches had even vowed not to field ‘dubious’ players, only to go back on their word. The result: bizarre high scoring games.
So, the FA of Malaysia, in an unprecedented move earlier this month, suspended and fined Kuala Lumpur’s Hafizi Roslee for ‘unsporting behaviour’ in a Premier League match this season.
The FAM disciplinary committee slapped Hafizi with a six-month suspension and fined him RM2,000 without appeal. The penalty wasn’t convincing.
What was convincing though was when Negri Sembilan President’s Cup coach was banned for life and 18 players were suspended for two to five years by the FAM for fixing matches in the national Under-20 tournament last year Probably the most convincing and concerted action was in 1994 when more than 100 footballers were banned or banished for being involved in match-fixing.
Maybe a similar action is required in the wake of suspicious match results recently.
But with Putrajaya having abolished the Restricted Residence Act 1933 two years ago, players and officials no longer can he detained or banished without trial.

Fix the fixers or be damned

The main problem with match-fixing has been the evidence or lack of to nail the culprits.
And even more difficult is getting the big bookies while 'runners' sometimes being nabbed, does not deter syndicates.
So are we going to condone the acts of irresponsible players and officials who take the fans for a ride and make a mockery of the game?
State FAs and clubs too are to be blamed for not taking proper measures to curb the menace.
They have failed to haul up players when they suspect indifferent performances, give them show cause letters, suspend them or deduct their salaries — all of which are provided for in the contracts.
State FAs, too fail to pay salaries of players on time and this has led to some resorting to match-fixing.
Pulling up the players at the end of the season, does not help much.
Players suspected of match-fixing should be blacklisted and not recruited by other teams.
But this does not happen, as players dropped by one team, will be picked up by other teams who are well aware that the errant player was dropped for disciplinary reasons.
Legalising betting was another option considered to curb the illegal betting which is linked to match-fixing. But that too was shot down.
The FA of Malaysia have set up their own Integrity Committee comprising the police, MACC and FAM officials. States have been asked to set-up their own integrity committees.
How effective have these committees been? No one can tell.
So is there an end to the problem, or is it going be part and parcel of Malaysian football?

No comments: