Are the efforts by the FA of Malaysia (FAM) finally paying off in combating match-fixing in the M-League?
According to the national body, no match-fixing cases have been recorded since last year.
FAM secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam claimed that there have been only two warnings of possible match-fixing since he joined the national body in 2018 but they were later written off.
“We have our strategies to identify whether matches have been fixed.
“We normally get early warnings of suspicious betting patterns.
“There were a couple of signals via betting patterns and media reports, but both were written off.”
Malaysia and Singapore were the match-fixing hubs in the past but things have improved over the years, thanks to the efforts by both countries to fight the menace.
In February, the Asian Football Confederation revealed that match-fixing cases in the continent have reduced over the last six years.
Match-fixing, however, is still a significant threat in Asia as many clubs in the continent, especially in Southeast Asia, offer low wages and do not pay salaries on time.
Last year, FAM president Datuk Hamidin Amin warned M-League teams, especially those in the red, to stay away from unscrupulous sponsors as they have hidden agendas.
With the country’s economy facing challenging times due to the Covid-19 pandemic, teams, who are struggling to pay salaries, might fall prey to unscrupulous sponsors.
FAM hope players in the M-League will accept pay cuts as teams are struggling with their finances due to loss of income from gate collections and sponsorships caused by the pandemic.
This, however, could lead to fixers infiltrating teams, players and coaches during the suspension of the M-League and offering money, in return of favours when the league resumes.
Bookies sometimes masquerade as sponsors, who then approach teams with a promise to provide funds.
Some even take total control and hire coaches and players for the teams.
There have been several cases in the past involving top M-League teams.
FAM are currently working closely with the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission through their integrity committees in all State FAs and clubs to monitor match-fixing in the country.
The national body have also engaged Fifa’s Early Warning System (EWS) to monitor betting patterns.