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Asian football body vows action on corruption and match-fixing

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 May 2008

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Corruption and match-fixing remain key areas of concern for Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamad bin Hammam who Friday vowed to rid them from the game.

“Corruption and match-fixing in the Asian game remain prime concerns and AFC will do everything in its power to root out this scourge,” he said on the governing body’s 54th anniversary.

“The game’s integrity is of utmost priority for AFC and we will prevail in this fight against corruption.”

Corruption has long blighted football in Asia and reared its ugly head again last month in Malaysia, home of the AFC.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) detained seven players from the Sarawak state team and nine others from the Police Football Association over allegations of match-fixing.

The detentions were the latest blow to Malaysian football, which has never recovered from a 1994 investigation that saw 126 players picked up for questioning.

In that debacle, 21 players and coaches were sacked, while 58 players were suspended by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) on corruption charges.

Vietnam and China are other prime countries to have been dogged by match-fixing allegations.

Bin Hammam added that he wanted to see the game completely depoliticised.

“Political and vested interests must be completely eliminated from the statutes of all AFC Member Associations,” he said.

“All AFC Member Associations should adopt FIFA’s Standard Statutes and put in place an independent, transparent and democratic system to introduce transparency.”

He also called for all Asian footballing nations to embrace a more professional and commercial approach to help raise standards.

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