Three referees dropped in corruption probe

Replacement officials brought in for AFC Cup tie in Singapore as referees assist with investigation into match-fixing.

    Referee Ali Sabbagh (pictured) and two assistants are latest to be questioned by CPIB [Reuters]
    Referee Ali Sabbagh (pictured) and two assistants are latest to be questioned by CPIB [Reuters]

    Three Lebanese football referees were dropped from an AFC Cup tie in Singapore and questioned by anti-corruption officers on Wednesday in the city-state's latest match-fixing scare.

    The three "are currently assisting the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in their investigations", the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said in a statement, warning of "zero tolerance" for match-fixing.

    Referee Ali Sabbagh, and assistants Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb, had been due to officiate in Tampines Rovers' fixture with East Bengal. Replacement officials were brought in for Wednesday's game, which was won 4-2 by the Indian team.

    "The match officials in question... were brought to CPIB earlier this morning," FAS said, referring to Singapore's anti-corruption agency.

    "Singapore and FAS have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to match-fixing and football corruption which includes the imposition of permanent suspension from all football activities on any player or official convicted in a court of law for football corruption offences," the football body said.

    Singapore has a long record of match-fixing scandals and criminals from the tiny but wealthy Southeast Asian country have been blamed by Europol for orchestrating an international network responsible for rigging hundreds of games worldwide.

    In February, Singapore came under pressure to act against the cartels, whose activities fuel illegal gambling estimated to be worth billions of dollars, when the head of Interpol called for the arrest of an alleged ringleader.

    Singapore police later said the suspect, Tan Seet Eng or Dan Tan, was assisting investigations, but he was not arrested or charged with any crime.

    SOURCE: AFP


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