Thai police swoop on 12 match-fixing suspects in bid to bust organised crime gang

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November 22 – Police have swooped on 12 individuals suspected of match-fixing in Thailand. Those arrested include five players and two match officials who are accused of having been corrupted by an organised crime gang.

The matches under investigation include one in July and three matches in September. The criminal probe was initiated by the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) and Royal Thai Police using data from fraud detection specialists Sportradar after an unusual number of goals were scored at the end of matches.

Police said that four players from the Navy club and one from Nakhon Ratchasima were paid up to 200,000 Thai baht ($6,100) to manipulate results. The 12 people arrested have been released on bail.

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said at a press conference that the fixing was coordinated through a network comprising players, two referees, a club official and domestic and international criminal gangs.

Under Thai law the match and club officials could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of match-fixing. Players could face up to five years in jail and fines.

Somyot Poompanmuang, president of FAT, said: “Match-fixing has been committed for a long time…It’s time we eradicate this wrongdoing which is like a bad diseased of our body that needs to be cured.”

He also praised the Thai police for their action and emphasised the importance of tacking match-fixing in Thailand. “I have to give big credit to the Royal Thai Police for their work or otherwise we will see the fall of Thai football if match-fixing is not tackled,” he said.

Earlier this week the AFC launched its whistleblower app specifically for match-fixing and corruption in Asian football. The app enables fans, players and officials to report suspicious activities or supply information in real time.

The app, which is free and available for download in Apple’s App Store and on Google Play, will link to the AFC Integrity Unit who will act on any information received.

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