Officials wary after clubs report fixing attempts
NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian football officials are setting up an anti-corruption unit after clubs reported approaches for fixing matches.
“It was during last week’s FIFA-Interpol workshop in New Delhi that Mumbai FC divulged the approach from someone who claimed to be from Malaysia,” Sunando Dhar, the chief executive of the professional I-League, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
“As far as we know it was a solitary incident about a year ago and since there was no attempt to contact the team again, their officials were not sure whether it was an approach or a hoax. Pune FC also had a similar one-off approach.”
Dhar said that all precautions would be taken even though the concern was not big right now.
“We need to be safe now rather than be sorry later. This is kind of a wake-up call for us. The All India Football Federation and the I-League are taking all measures needed, including putting in place the anti-corruption unit,” Dhar said. “At least we’ll be prepared if there is any other such instance and everyone would know the person with whom the matter can be taken up.”
Though match-fixing is almost unheard of in the low-profile I-League, cricket’s cash-rich Indian Premier League has been marred by fixing allegations.
Three cricketers, including former test pace bowler Shantakumaran Sreesanth, were arrested last year for spot-fixing in the IPL and subsequently banned for life.
A sting operation in 2012 had also caught some domestic players negotiating their IPL contracts illegally and agreeing to fix matches in the Twenty20 tournament.