SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The Asian Football Confederation gave itself a proud pat on the back on Tuesday after declaring that January’s Asian Cup in Australia was free of match-fixing.
“It is extremely encouraging to see that the detailed integrity planning and collaboration for our premier tournament, the AFC Asian Cup, was a success,” AFC general-secretary Alex Soosay said in a statement.
“This would not have been possible without the support and focused efforts of each stakeholder and in particular Australian law enforcement and Sportradar, who worked hand-in-hand with AFC’s Integrity Unit throughout the tournament.
“The effective implementation of this action plan could be a blueprint for other Asian sporting events and sports governing bodies,” the Malaysian added.
A large bulk of the 47 members in the AFC have been hit with match-fixing scandals in recent years, with fixers targeting low-paid players in various leagues such as Australia, Lebanon, South Korea, China, Vietnam and Singapore.
The AFC has employed Swiss-based Sportradar, a supplier of sports and betting-related data services, to help tackle the problem, which has hit the sport’s credibility in the region, with seemingly solid results.
The AFC has encouraged their members to do the same, but not all have signed up with the Malaysian Football Association, another to be hit by match-fixing issues, querying the cost.