Malaysia 'in the dark' about FIFA probe

KUALA LUMPUR - The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) is expecting a visit from FIFA anti-corruption officials next week but they have not yet been informed what is being investigated, FAM's secretary general told Reuters.

Azzudin Ahmad said he had contacted Chris Eaton on Monday after reports in local media said the FIFA security chief would be visiting to probe two friendly internationals between Malaysia and Zimbabwe which took place in 2009.

"I am still in the dark," Ahmad told Reuters by telephone on Tuesday. "All I knew is what I picked up in the media last week but we had no correspondence from (FIFA).

"We called Mr Eaton yesterday and he said they were coming around next week. He said he would be sending a letter with an explanation this week."

Ahmad said he "guessed" the visit would relate to the two 2009 matches, which were stripped of their "A" international status after it was discovered that the Zimbabwe side was a club team.

The FAM had acted in good faith in accepting the fixtures, Ahmad said, and he denied they had paid any money to fund the visit by the Zimbabweans.

"As far as the games against Zimbabwe, we are very clear in our minds. We got a notification from the Zimbabwean FA itself," he said.

"As you are aware when another national body sends a letter, it's really unethical to question them. When they committed that they would be sending the international squad, we weren't going to question them."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Monday that football's world governing body would be donating $28 million to Interpol to fund a dedicated anti-corruption unit in Singapore to help fight match-fixing.

Interpol secretary general Ron Noble told FIFA in Zurich that Asia was "a hot-bed of betting and match-fixing."

When asked about the extent of match-fixing in Malaysia, Ahamad said it was very difficult to determine.

"Your guess is as good as mine, talk of matchfixing is everywhere, all the time but there's nothing official that anyone wants to report to the police or anti-corruption officials," he said. "So there's nothing we can do."

Part of the problem, he said, was that teams were reluctant to report suspected match-fixing through official channels.

"They sack people for playing matters," he said. "On that basis, we can't probe them.

"The FAM are always telling our clubs and state teams that they should go to the authorities but they just terminate the contract of the player for 'underperforming'."

FIFA is investigating two international friendlies played in Turkey in February in which seven penalties were awarded, one of them taken twice.

The six match officials involved have been suspended pending the outcome.


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