22 from Laos, Cam­bo­dia get life bans for fix­ing

Manila Times - - FOOTBALL - KUALA LUMPUR: AFP

Twenty- two play­ers and of­fi­cials from Laos and Cam­bo­dia have been handed life bans in one of Asian foot­ball’s biggest mass pun­ish­ments for match- fix­ing.

The Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion said the ac­tion fol­lows an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that started in 2014, and that it will seek to have the bans ex­tended world­wide.

“The (AFC) Dis­ci­plinary Com­mit­tee has is­sued a life ban from foot­ball-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties to twen­tytwo in­di­vid­u­als from Laos and Cam­bo­dia for in­volve­ment in the ma­nip­u­la­tion of matches in­volv­ing the rep­re­sen­ta­tive teams of Laos and the club side Lao Toy­ota FC,” a state­ment said late on Wed­nes­day.

“The AFC in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ma­nip­u­la­tion of matches in­volv­ing the rep­re­sen­ta­tive teams of the Lao Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion com­menced in 2014 and re­mains on­go­ing,” it added.

Fif­teen of those banned are cur­rent or for­mer play­ers of the Laos na­tional side or Vi­en­tiane-based Lao Toy­ota FC, the AFC said.

De­tails of the games in­volved were not re­leased, but four of the play­ers had been pro­vi­sion­ally sus­pended dur­ing the AFC Sol­i­dar­ity Cup in­volv­ing Laos in Novem­ber.

“(The play­ers’) on­go­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion pro­vided a di­rect threat to the in­tegrity of the com­pe­ti­tion,” the AFC said at the time, adding that the sus­pen­sions also re­lated to “sus­pected ma­nip­u­la­tion of mul­ti­ple matches com­mit­ted by the rep­re­sen­ta­tive teams of Laos since 2010”.

Laos played three matches at the Sol­i­dar­ity Cup, beat­ing Sri Lanka 2-1 and Mon­go­lia 3-0, and los­ing 4-1 to Ma­cau.

Poorly paid Asian foot­ballers and of­fi­cials have long been vul­ner­a­ble to ad­vances from match­fix­ers seek­ing to ma­nip­u­late games for bet­ting pur­poses, giv­ing rise to a long list of scan­dals.

Among the largest was China ban­ning 33 play­ers and of­fi­cials for life in 2013, fol­low­ing a three-year in­ves­ti­ga­tion into no­to­ri­ous cor­rup­tion in its do­mes­tic leagues.

In 2007, two Viet­namese foot­ballers were jailed and six oth­ers given sus­pended sen­tences for rig­ging an un­der-23 match against Myan­mar at the 2005 South­east Asian Games.

Last year’s AFC Cham­pi­ons League win­ners, Jeon­buk Hyundai Mo­tors, have been banned from this year’s com­pe­ti­tion over a match-fix­ing scan­dal re­lat­ing to South Korea’s K-League.

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