Friday, May 27, 2011

Terengganu as training base

 The national polo team has made Terengganu as their training base for their last lap of preparations for next month’s FIP Polo World Cup 2011 Zone D Qualifier to be held in Malaysia.
  The Zone D Qualifier, which will held at the Royal Pahang Polo Club in Pekan and the Royal Selangor Polo Club here from June 14-25, will also double up as the Asian – Australasian – African Championships.
  The top finishers in the Qualifier will qualify to play in this year’s FIP Polo World Cup Finals which will be played in San Luis, Argentina from Oct 11-15.
   Seven teams – Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Nigeria and Malaysia will battle for the three tickets available for the World Cup Finals
  Team manager Ahmad Jamili Rashid also revealed that the team is in “great shape” after finishing a creditable joint third with Royal Pahang after a 6-6 stalemate in the playoff in the inaugural Terengganu Open Polo Championships at the Terengganu Equestrian Park in Kuala Ibai last Saturday. Thai Polo won the title with a 11-5 win over Head Hunters in the final.
  Jamili said the national team, playing under the 1Malaysia banner, had a fruitful outing in the Terengganu Open which enabled the coaches to work on the team’s shortcomings.
  “We have found the right combination,” said Jamili. “The Terengganu Open allowed the coaches to work on the flaws. It was also the perfect venue for the players to know their strength and weaknesses.”
   Jamili, however, is not willing to reveal on who will be the reserves in the six-man team. The Malaysian team is made up of captain Shaik Reismann (Handicap 3), Huzaini Yunos (Handicap 4), Amran Selamat (Handicap 2), Muhammad Edham Shaharuddin (Handicap 4), Saladin Mazlan (Handicap 3) and Tengku Ahmad Shazril (Handicap 3).
  “Right now the players have been trying out different horses. It is best they try out as many horses as possible now before the selection of horses for the World Cup is done through a draw. You will never know what type of horse you get,” added Jamili.
   Malaysia has never qualified for the FIP World Cup Finals. Royal Malaysian Polo Association (RMPA) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, however, believes that Malaysia, as hosts, are capable of a top three finish and book a historic place in the Finals.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Report lodged against Hammam

On 24 May 2011,FIFA Executive Committee member and CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer reported to Secretary General Jérôme Valcke possible violations of the FIFA Code of Ethics allegedly committed by officials.

In particular, the report referred to a special meeting of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), apparently organised jointly by FIFA Vice-President Jack A. Warner and FIFA Executive Committee member Mohamed bin Hammam, which took place on 10 and 11 May 2011. This meeting was linked to the upcoming FIFA presidential election.

In view of the facts alleged in this report, which include bribery allegations, FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke, in compliance with art. 16 of the FIFA Code of Ethics, Wednesday requested the FIFA Ethics Committee to open ethics proceedings.

Subsequently, the FIFA Ethics Committee on 25 May 2011, opened a procedure against the following officials:

FIFA Vice-President Jack A. Warner
FIFA Executive Committee member Mohamed bin Hammam
CFU official Debbie Minguell
CFU official Jason Sylvester

The aforementioned officials have been invited to take position by 27 May 2011 and to attend a hearing by the FIFA Ethics Committee at the Home of FIFA (Zurich) on 29 May 2011.

Based on art. 87.1 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code and art. 17.2 of the FIFA Code of Ethics, the chairman of the FIFA Ethics Committee, Claudio Sulser, has declined to participate in this FIFA Ethics Committee meeting due to the Swiss nationality he shares with Joseph S. Blatter, a candidate for the upcoming FIFA presidency.

The meeting will therefore be chaired by the deputy chairman of the FIFA Ethics Committee, Petrus Damaseb (Namibia).

No additional comments will be made by FIFA until further notice. - FIFA.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Arsenal vs Malaysia

English Premier League side Arsenal will travel to Asia to play a Malaysia in a friendly match in July despite manager Arsene Wenger’s concerns about long tours causing fatigue to players.

The game will take place at the country’s National Stadium, which has a capacity of over 80,000, on July 13 in the first part of their Asian tour. The club said they would give details about the second stage at a later date.

“Everyone at Arsenal Football Club is excited to be visiting Malaysia,” Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis told the club’s website (, Tuesday.

“The club has a tradition of playing there going back to the 1960s. This will be our fourth visit to Malaysia, having last visited Kuala Lumpur in 1999.

“We enjoy huge support in Asia and this will help bring the club closer to our fans out there.”

Wenger has previously voiced concern about pre-season tours not being the best preparation for his team and has favoured taking his squad to mainland Europe for low-key warm-up matches before hosting the annual two-day Emirates Cup.

The Malaysian fixture may cause concern to Asian Football Confederation head Mohamed Bin Hammam, who has been unhappy with teams touring Asia while regional tournaments are being played.

The match comes 10 days after Malaysia play their 2014 World Cup Asian qualifying first-round, second leg against Taiwan which they are heavy favourites to win.

Should they advance, they would play Southeast Asian rivals Singapore in the first leg of the second round on July 23. — Reuters

Monday, May 23, 2011

FIFA may suspend Indonesia

Agum Gumelar, the chairman of the PSSI Normalization Committee, said that FIFA will be making a decision on the federation and also the fate of Indonesian football during their executive committee meeting on 30 May 2011 in Zurich.

Agum said that he put his hopes on FIFA observers Thierry Regenass and Frank van Hattum, who were among the delegates to observe the Friday congress, will make the right recommendation to world football governing body.

“We will immediately write a report and send it to FIFA. The world federation will then make their decision based on the report,” Agum added.

“I asked them not to let FIFA sanction us because we all know the serious impact that we might incur. They said that they were disappointed with the behaviour of the congress participants and they felt embarrassed at how the participants defamed FIFA as well as PSSI.

“However, let’s just wait and see on 30 May.”

The PSSI Congress had to be called off after six hours following arguments over the continued candidacy of George Toisutta and Arifin Panigoro, who were already barred by FIFA, to be included in the poll.

In the meantime Andi Malarangeng, the Indonesian Minister for Youth and Sports Affairs said that the government will be looking at an amicable solution to the PSSI impasses.

“If the congress is good, the government will not take any intervention. But we see now that the congress is far from reaching our expected results,” he said, as quoted by

Andi said that he will be discussing the issue with the National Olympic Council (KONI) chairwoman Rita Subowo and Agum as well as other stake holders.

“We hope FIFA understands the real situation rather than sanctioning the Indonesian soccer community based on the fault of some officials,” he said.

Friday, May 20, 2011

FAM sets up task force

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) will set up a joint task force with police to combat match-fixing and bribery after being stung by playing two friendlies against a fake Zimbabwe national team two years ago.

FAM general secretary Dato' Azzuddin Ahmad said Thursday that the task force will set up committees in every state to monitor international and local matches and pursue illegal bookmakers.

Malaysia won both friendlies against what turned out to be a Zimbabwean club side instead of the national team, with FIFA later revoking the status of the games.

Dato' Azzuddin says the FIFA investigating team led by security chief Chris Eaton had “made it very clear that Malaysia was an innocent party” in the scandal.

“We are relieved that we have cleared our name but we are now more alert and are taking preventive measures,” Dato' Azzuddin said.

Zimbabwe’s football federation has fired its former chief executive, Henriatta Rushwaya, and is considering sanctions against players who have admitted also throwing matches on a tour of Thailand and Malaysia in December 2009.

Azzuddin said Eaton had given details to police for investigation of two Malaysians and a Singaporean residing in Malaysia who are believed to be involved in match-fixing.

FIFA is cracking down on organized crime leaders responsible for recent corruption in the sport. World football’s governing body has announced a ?20 million ($29 million) project with Interpol to fight match-fixing over the next 10 years.

Interpol will host a FIFA anti-corruption center at its new base in Singapore to train players, referees and officials how to identify fixing attempts.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Worawi removed

Fifa executive committee member Worawi Makudi, who has been implicated in a World Cup bribery scandal, is no longer head of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) according to a government sporting body.

The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) said that the postponement of FAT elections last week was illegal, and as no election had been held within the required time limit after Worawi's presidency expired at the end of 2010, his position was void.

Worawi was to have been challenged for the presidency at FAT elections last Friday but the poll was postponed when the executive board said some of the clubs had more than one voting representative.

"It was clearly an illegal move," SAT deputy governor Somkid Pinthong told a Senate committee on sports, according to a report in Thursday's Bangkok Post.

"An election for FAT president must have been completed by March 31," Somkid said. "As an election was not held by that date, Worawi and his executive board have lost their positions.

"In fact, they did not even have the authority to call the May 6 election."

The FAT had planned to hold an election within two weeks, but had only until Tuesday to answer an SAT query over the initial postponement or face further action.

Worawi was outside the country attending to Fifa business but was reportedly due back tomorrow and was scheduled to hold a press conference on Monday at which he will address the threat to his tenure as FAT president and Fifa executive committee member.

He was also expected to address allegations by English Football Association chairman David Triesman that said Worawi and three other executive committee members asked for various kinds of payment in exchange for their support of England's failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Worawi was accused of asking for control of the television rights to a proposed Thailand-England friendly in Bangkok this year, which did not proceed after England's World Cup bid failed. Worawi has denied the allegations.

Worawi had also publicly declared that he would support challenger Mohammed Hammam in the upcoming elections for the FIFA presidency, against incumbent Sepp Blatter. -- AP

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

All out against match-fixing

Global efforts to prevent corruption in football reached a milestone with the announcement Monday that world football’s governing body, FIFA, is to donate to INTERPOL the largest grant it has ever received from a private institution to create an unprecedented ten-year programme worth millions of euros a year at a dedicated FIFA Anti-Corruption Training Wing within the INTERPOL Global Complex (IGC) in Singapore.

The announcement was made by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble at a press conference held at the Home of FIFA in Zurich. Under the agreement, INTERPOL will receive EUR 4 million in each of the first two years, followed by EUR 1.5 million in each of the following eight years.

INTERPOL’s longest-ever funded initiative will target illegal and irregular betting and match-fixing, the scale of which has been highlighted by recent fixing allegations and the involvement of Asian gambling syndicates in global match-fixing – with estimates by INTERPOL’s global law enforcement network that illegal football gambling is worth up to hundreds of millions of US dollars in Asia alone each year.

In this respect, the initiative will provide cutting-edge training, education and prevention to protect the sport, the players and the fans from fraud and corruption.

“The threat of match-fixing in sport is a major one, and we are committed to doing everything in our power to tackle this threat,” said President Blatter. “In the fight against illegal betting and match-fixing, the preventive measures that can be taken and the protection of the players and the integrity of the game are of the utmost importance. Joint work with the authorities and with INTERPOL is crucial for success, and for this reason we are very pleased to announce this contribution today, which will further enhance our cooperation,” he added.

During the press conference, FIFA also announced the creation of an internal Betting Integrity Investigation Task Force, which will comprise members of FIFA’s Legal Division and Security Department, as well as the Early Warning System GmbH.

“Match-fixing shakes the very foundations of sport, namely fair play, respect and discipline. That’s why FIFA employs a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any infringement of these values,” concluded the FIFA President.

INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble hailed FIFA’s and President Blatter’s commitment to keeping the world’s most popular and influential sport clean.

“By funding a long-term corruption prevention training programme to be designed and implemented by INTERPOL – the world’s largest international police institution with 188 member countries – to counter transnational organised crime’s attempts to corrupt the sport and its players, officials and administrators, FIFA has taken a significant step towards ensuring the integrity of football worldwide,” said Noble.

As INTERPOL and FIFA look to the future, basing this anti-corruption initiative at INTERPOL’s upcoming Global Complex in Singapore while delivering training programmes from INTERPOL Regional Bureaus and offices all over the world will help both INTERPOL and FIFA achieve their common goal of keeping the world’s most popular sport free of the corrupt influences of transnational organised crime syndicates.

“Illicit betting and match-fixing rings have demonstrated their global reach to fundamentally undermine football from one continent to another by corrupting administrators, officials and players and they require a global response,” said Noble.

Endorsing the initiative, the World Bank’s Vice-President of Integrity, Leonard McCarthy, said: “Corruption should always be offside. Cleaning-up initiatives are a much-needed golden goal against corruption, and an important step toward keeping football worthy of its nickname: the beautiful game.”

Noble outlined how links had been established between match-fixing, illegal betting and organised crime at international level and how organised criminals frequently engage in loan-sharking and use intimidation and violence to collect debts, forcing their desperate, indebted victims into drug smuggling and their family members into prostitution.

“Today’s agreement between INTERPOL and FIFA therefore provides a unique opportunity to challenge corruption both on and off the pitch,” concluded the head of INTERPOL.

INTERPOL has co-ordinated several successful operations targeting illegal gambling in Asia, with SOGA III, conducted throughout the 2010 FIFA World Cup involving police across China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand and resulting in the arrest of more than 5,000 individuals with raids conducted on nearly 800 illegal gambling dens which had handled more than USD 155 million worth of bets.

The programme will create a continuous learning and operational platform for all officials involved directly or indirectly in international and national football.

It will also deliver regional training and advice at international football events such as the FIFA World Cup™ and FIFA Club World Cup, as well as at youth competitions ranging from Under-17 to Under-20 events.

Monday, May 9, 2011

300 matches fixed?

Football’s ruling body FIFA are investigating claims that over 300 matches on three continents were influenced by match-fixers, according to The Daily Telegraph.

FIFA suspect match officials were paid as little as USD10,000 to help engineer specific results in international friendly matches and European club games, netting fixers hundreds of millions of dollars on Asian betting markets.

“The threat from match-fixing to the integrity of the global game is significant,” said Chris Eaton, FIFA’s head of security to the British newspaper.

“Interviews with those involved have told us that fixers can spend upwards of USD300,000 to stage a friendly international and they do that with the expectation of a significant profit margin,” the former Interpol official added.

Eaton told the Telegraph that he believed fixers had made ‘tens of millions of dollars’ in profit.

Employees from at least six different national football associations are under suspicion of assisting the criminal network, which is thought to work out of Singapore and Malaysia.
FIFA fear the upcoming under-17 and under-20 World Championships are at risk.

“We have admissions from those we are focusing on that they have been planning to target younger players at the under-17 and under-20 level,” Eaton told the broadsheet.

“That is enough to make me concerned that we need to put preventative measures in place,” he added.

Matches under suspicion include club games in Germany and Finland, Europa League fixtures and friendly internationals involving Kuwait, Jordan, Bolivia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Malaysia and Zimbabwe.

A friendly game between Bahrain and Togo came to the world’s attention after the African country denied sending a team, and were instead represented by amateurs who struggled to last the full game.

During the match, which is under investigation, Bahrain scored eight goals, five of which were ruled out, resulting in a 3-0 scoreline.

Friday, May 6, 2011

"King Raja" to speak

THE architect of Malaysia’s soccer success the past two years and Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss will be among the featured speakers in the First Philippine Football Conference on May 14-15 at the San Beda College in Mendiola.

Krishnasamy Rajagobal, fondly known as "King Raja" to Malaysia soccer fans, will share his know-how and experience in the two-day meeting organized by the technical department of the Philippine Football Federation headed by former national coach Aris Caslib.

While Rajagobal is known to Filipino football aficionados for guiding Malaysia to its first AFF Suzuki Cup championship last year, the 55-year-old Selangor native endeared himself to his countrymen by steering the Malaysian booters to the gold medal in the 2009 Laos Southeast Asian Games.

Malaysia stunned fancied Vietnam 1-0 in the finals to clinching the men’s football gold and end a 20-year drought in the regional event.

"It brings everybody (in local football) updated on the latest trends and developments in the sport," said PFF Luzon regional technical director Alberto Honasan, a former national player.

"Now that we’re riding the crest of football popularity, we should also have a basic understanding why this is all happening," Honasan said.

"This will help the local football community understand and underscore what the Philippines is now up against in the level of Southeast Asian, Asian and world football," he stressed.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

FIFA to relax naturalization rule

Fifa will consider a proposal to relax the rules on the naturalization of players at its annual congress and give its executive committee greater powers to suspend member federations.

The congress, where the main item is the presidential election between incumbent Sepp Blatter and challenger Mohamed Bin Hammam on June 1, will also be asked to rubber-stamp moves to tighten up on friendly internationals.

Football’s governing body will consider a suggestion that a player over the age of 18 need only live in a new country for three rather than the current five years before he can play for its national team.
Fifa said the proposal, included in the congress agenda, had been made by the United Arab Emirates football association.

Many feel the regulations are already too relaxed and allow players to switch nationalities too easily.
Portugal and Mexico have fielded foreign-born players with no parental connections to the country, as have a number of African countries.

Blatter once said that he feared a World Cup being played with teams full of Brazilian players who had changed nationalities.

Until 2004, a player only needed the passport of the country he wanted to represent, which many nations were happy to fast-track.

But after Qatar tried to sign up Brazilian forward Ailton, Fifa ruled that players must have lived in their country for at least two years before they could play for it. That was later increased to five.
The congress will also be asked to allow the executive committee to suspend a member federation for a single violation of Fifa statutes. At the moment, it can only do this for repeated serious violations.

Fifa’s executive committee announced in March it would take greater control over international friendlies.
This came after a fake Togo team played in one game in September and seven penalties were awarded in two matches in Turkey in February.

Congress has been asked to approve the new rules which include allowing Fifa to change the referee if it thinks he is not qualified for the game.

The congress agenda said: “Fifa would like to highlight the fact that it is of vital importance to have clear provisions regarding the authorisation of international matches in order to protect the integrity of football.” — Reuters