THE Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has declared war on football bookies.
FAM deputy president Datuk Yusoff Mahadi said the association would announce several initiatives to clean up the sport.
Yusoff, who is also FAM local competitions chairman, called for higher scrutiny of the President’s Cup and Youth Cup, where young players were said to be targeted by match-fixers.
“It is not new. I have heard stories of young players on the payroll of bookies. This is unhealthy for football. We need to protect our young players as they are the future of Malaysian football,” Yusoff said yesterday.
“The bookies go for youth players who are earmarked as future stars. It is a strategic move as they know these players will eventually play in the Super League and Premier League.”
Yusoff said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was playing a more active role in eradicating match-fixing.
“MACC officials will play active roles now. They will monitor teams and all matches in the league. MACC is independent and they will act if they find something suspicious.
“FAM’s integrity committee will also monitor the lower leagues — FAM Cup, President’s Cup and Youth Cup.
“I think the problem of match-fixing starts in the lower leagues. We need to weed them out.”
Yusoff is also upset over the alleged match-fixing issue involving the Malaysian Indian Sports Council-Malaysian Indian Football Association Football Club.
“We heard more individuals will be implicated with regards to this case. It is disappointing. I hope our proactive measures will be enough to fight match-fixing.”
Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership chief executive officer Kevin Ramalingam said FAM president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim would announce several initiatives to eradicate match-fixing soon.
“We are aware of everything, and the yet-to-be announced initiatives will bring positive results. From what I know, very little action was taken against players involved in match-fixing before this. More should have been done to deter players.”
In an FAM executive committee meeting in Sabah recently, Tunku Ismail said life bans would be imposed on players and officials found guilty of match-fixing.