The Standard Gazette
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Referees Accept Sex To Fix Match

The act of match fixing has gone another level with perpetrators not interested in fixing matches for money.

Reports from Lebanon say referees are demanding for sex to fix match. According to Reuters, three Lebanese referees have been charged for accepting sexual bribes from three women to fix an Asian Football Confederation Cup match. They will go on trial from 10-14 June.

FIFA-recognised referee Ali Sabbagh and assistants Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb had allegedly agreed to influence the result of the 3 April match between Singapore’s Tampines Rovers and East Bengal of India, and were hastily replaced hours before kick-off by the AFC.

The three, who deny the charges against them, face a maximum fine of S$100,000 and a five-year prison term if found guilty.

They have not been given bail on grounds they could be a flight risk and are currently being held at Singapore’s Changi Prison.

• Referee Ali Sabbagh

Spokesmen for Singapore’s Attorney General’s office and the law firm representing the three referees could not immediately be contacted for comment.

Singapore is the focus of an international investigation into match-fixing, with the European anti-crime agency, Europol, saying in February that hundreds of football matches had been fixed in a global betting scam run from the Southeast Asian city-state.

Lebanon has also been in the spotlight. Earlier this year, the Lebanese Football Association punished 24 players for their involvement in rigging international and regional matches. That included lifetime bans for internationals Ramez Dayoub and Mahmoud El-Ali.

The dates for the trial of Eric Ding Si Yang, the Singaporean bookie who allegedly provided the prostitutes for the trio, have not been set, the Straits Times said. Ding is, however, out on S$150,000 bail.

The next pre-trial conference for Ding and the three Lebanese match officials will take place on 9 May. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (i.e, the CPIB: the Singapore government’s anti-match fixing agency) have confirmed that referee Ali Sabbagh and his two assistant referees Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb were hastily replaced for the Tampines Rovers-East Bengal cup tie on Wednesday after it transpired that the officials had, as the CPIB put it, “corruptly received gratification in the form of free sexual service” in return for throwing the match.

The three men have all been charged with “accepting a fiddle for a fiddle” or whatever the official description is and are likely to be struck from the match officials register if found guilty as Singapore have a newly adopted zero tolerance policy when it comes to match rigging.