Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Drip, drip, drip....

Another day, another match-fixing story out of Singapore. A group of Lebanese referees have been prevented from taking charge of an AFC Cup match in the Little Red Dot over fears of corruption.
Three Lebanese soccer officials have been dropped from refereeing an AFC Cup match in Singapore and are helping the country's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) with their enquiries, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said on Wednesday.
Ali Sabbagh and assistant referees Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb were taken to the CPIB early on Wednesday, the FAS said, and replacement officials would take charge of the match between Tampines Rovers and East Bengal of India later in the day.
In case you were wondering, as I did, it appears that Andre El Haddad -- the Lebanese man in the middle for Indonesia's 10-0 loss at Bahrain a few months ago -- was not involved. This time.

Poor Singapore can't seem to get its once-squeaky-clean name out of the headlines. Despite all the frantic hand-waving by FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation, the Singapore government and the Football Association of Singapore, Dan Tan -- who is wanted by European police for fixing football matches across five continents -- is still free and looks for all the world to be operating under the protection of the Singapore authorities.

FIFA and the AFC are doing everything in their power to convince the world they are expending every effort in the fight against match-fixing. As usual with these organizations, though, the gap between their rhetoric and their results is predictably vast.

EDIT: Apparently the allure of those Geylang girls proved too much for our friends from Lebanon.
Three Lebanese soccer officials have been charged with receiving sexual bribes to fix an AFC Cup match in Singapore, a government law-enforcement agency of the island city-state said on Thursday.
Referee Ali Sabbagh and assistant referees Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb were hastily replaced by officials from Thailand and Malaysia for Tampines Rovers' 4-2 defeat by East Bengal of India on Wednesday. 
The Lebanese trio were taken to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) instead and appeared in a Singapore court on Thursday. 
"Ali Sabbagh, Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb were produced in court, each with a charge of one count of corruptly receiving gratification, in the form of free sexual service," the CPIB said in a statement.
Simply delish. As you can imagine, the trio is not taking it well. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that the person doing the bribery was a bookie.

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