Asia

Fixing football from Singapore: A timeline

  • 28 October 2013
  • From the section Asia
Hand pushing money into a football

Neil Humphreys, a Singapore-based author, highlights some of the key players and incidents in Singapore's match-fixing history.

1994 Singapore becomes the first nation to convict a FIFA referee, T Rajamanickam, for match fixing. He's jailed for nine months.

1995 Singapore-based footballers Abbas Saad and Michal Vana found guilty of being part of a conspiracy to fix results in the Malaysian Premier League competition. Abbas fined. Vana jumped bail, fled the country and remains a fugitive in the Czech Republic.

1995 Wilson Raj Perumal jailed in Singapore for a year for giving $2,400 to a football team captain to lose a match in September 1994.

1997 Rajendran Kurusamy jailed for 27 months for trying to bribe three S-League players.

1999 Perumal found guilty of bribing a football referee.

2000 Perumal jailed for his role in attacking S-League footballers Max Nicholson and Ivica Raguz with a baseball bat.

2001 Singapore's professional football league, the S-League, becomes the first to introduce compulsory polygraph tests for its players.

2008 Six players from former S-League club Liaoning Guangyuan jailed for match-fixing. The club, originally from China, was thrown out of the league. The players were bribed to intentionally lose S-League matches in 2007.

2009 A Zimbabwe Football Association's (Zifa) internal probe concludes that national team players were paid to lose matches by an Asian betting syndicate. Zimbabwe lost 3-0 to Thailand and 6-0 to Syria. At the same time, two Singaporean "businessmen" were arrested in Syria on allegations of match-fixing. They were imprisoned for a short period and then released, following rumours of torture and bribery.

September 2010 Perumal, posing as an accredited match agent, fixes a friendly between Bahrain and Togo. The Togo team is made up entirely of imposters.

November 2010 In Italy, the players of a third division side, Cremonese, suddenly felt tired in a game against Paganese. One player crashed his car on the way home. They had been drugged. The Cremonese goalkeeper, Marco Paolini, had promised to fix the match to pay off his gambling debts. He spiked the team's water bottles. He later receives a five-year football ban. The subsequent probe finds a syndicate link to Singapore's Dan Tan. There is still a warrant for Tan's arrest in Italy.

April 2011 Fifa's then head of security, Chris Eaton, tells The New Paper in Singapore that Fifa had unearthed an "an academy" of match-fixers in the country. Eaton had informed Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, that south-east Asian syndicates had been rigging matches worldwide for a decade.

June 2011 In a Finnish courtroom, Perumal, claims to be one of six key members of a multinational match-fixing consortium. He also claims to have fixed "tens of matches around the world" and earned five to six million euros ($6.7 - 8.1m) in the process. He admitted trying to fix 11 Finnish league matches. Four of his attempts were successful.

July 2011 Finnish authorities hand Perumal a two-year jail sentence. He had been charged with bribing players, entering Finland with a forged Singapore passport and obstructing the duties of government officials by trying to escape from custody. Suspended sentences were handed to seven Zambian and two Georgian players from Rovaniemi Football Club for accepting bribes from Perumal.

February 2012 Perumal completes a year of his sentence and is extradited to Hungary. Under house arrest, he continues to assist Hungarian authorities with their match-fixing probe.

February 2013 Europol investigators claim that 680 matches worldwide were fixed by syndicates with links to Singapore and Dan Tan in particular.

March 2013 German news magazine, Der Spiegel, published what the magazine claimed was an email interview with Dan Tan in which he admitted rigging a game in September 2001 between Barcelona and Fenerbah├že. He said he bribed four technicians to turn off the floodlights once the game reached 3-0. But the lights came back on with the aid of an emergency generator. He claimed to have lost $3 million.

June 2013 In Singapore, three Lebanese match officials found guilty of accepting free sex as an inducement to rig an AFC Cup. All three are jailed.

September 2013 Six members of Victorian Premier League Southern Stars arrested in Australia and charged over an alleged international match-fixing ring. The syndicate has alleged links to Mr Perumal.

September 2013 Fourteen individuals with alleged links to a match-fixing syndicate, including its leader, are arrested following a 12-hour operation in Singapore. Local media reports that Dan Tan is the "leader" arrested.

October 31, 2013 The trial of Eric Ding will resume. The Singaporean businessman is accused of providing prostitutes for the three Lebanese match officials. He denies the charges.