Malaysia to implement FIFA's fraud detection system

Match-fixers beware – the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have engaged FIFA’s Early Warning System (EWS) in an effort to combat the issue in the country. 

A deal between both parties has been reached and the system will be implemented next month in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) and will also be extended to international matches hosted in Malaysia.

FAM have been given a good deal as they won’t have to spend any money on the system, which normally sells for RM100,000 per season.

An independent integrity unit must be formed to investigate all reports obtained from the system

- Kevin Ramalingam

EWS, which was founded in 2007, is a fraud detection system that monitors betting trends and also provides match analysis.

It monitors FIFA competitions, including the World Cup and all qualifying matches, and also works closely with the Japan FA.

Rumours of match-fixing in the MSL are not new as a number of corruption scandals have surfaced in the past.

The biggest crackdown recorded came in 1994-95, when more than 100 footballers were either banned for life or served suspensions of between 12 months and four years.

In 2009, the national team’s friendly matches against Zimbabwe and Lesotho in Kuala Lumpur were investigated by FIFA as the games were arranged by convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal.

Malaysia, who were then coached by K. Rajagobal, defeated a higher-ranked Zimbabwe 4-0 and 1-0.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino

FIFA subsequently revoked the ‘A’ international classification for both matches when it was discovered that a Zimbabwean club, Monomotapa United, was masquerading as the southern African country's national team.

That same year, Lesotho were hammered 5-0 by Malaysia in a friendly and many players from the visiting side had gone on a spending spree in Kuala Lumpur which raised suspicion the result of that match had been manipulated.

FAM have been working closely with the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) since 2010 to eradicate the problem in the league, but it has has persisted.

Apart from providing data of betting trends, EWS will also offer a confidential system with a dedicated integrity hotline and email address and also monitor matches in the MSL to detect possible involvement of players and coaches in fixing outcomes.

We will be able to pinpoint players who are probably involved in fixing matches

A fraud detection system was supposed to be implemented at the start of the season in February, but it was delayed as Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP), who manages the Malaysia’s Super League and Premier League, was still deciding whether to engage EWS or the more-popular Sportradar.

Furthermore, negotiations between FAM and FIFA were slightly affected by the latter’s election earlier this year.

FMLLP chief executive Kevin Ramalingam said the implementation of a fraud detection system would uphold the league’s integrity.

“However, an independent integrity unit, comprising the police and MACC, must be formed to investigate all reports obtained from the fraud detection system,” Ramalingam said.

“Reports will normally provide details of betting trends and play patterns of matches. From there, we will be able to pinpoint players who are probably involved in fixing matches.”

Football officials raised their concerns over match-fixing last season and some even reported the matter to FAM, but nothing came of them due to a lack of evidence.

As for now, the national body have yet to apprehend the big players in football corruption in Malaysia, but this could change with EWS’ implementation.