Kelong bust by CPIB: Referees caught with hookers

SINGAPORE - They were assigned to officiate in last night's Group H Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup encounter between Tampines Rovers and India's East Bengal.

But the Lebanese trio of referee Ali Sabbagh and assistant referees Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb spent their day in the custody of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) instead.

In response to The New Paper queries on Wednesday, the CPIB said: "(They) are currently assisting the CPIB in our investigations.

"Singapore takes a serious view of corruption. We adopt a zero tolerance approach towards corruption, and match fixing of any form is not condoned in Singapore.

"As investigations are still ongoing, we will not be able to provide any further information at this stage."

Sources revealed that the trio were led away from the Amara Hotel in handcuffs in the early hours of Wednesday. They were found with prostitutes in their rooms, allegedly provided by the bookie involved in the matter.

TNP understands that Tampines' officials were called in to help clear the room of the trio's belongings.

According to the website of world football governing body, Fifa, Sabbagh has been a Fifa-accredited referee since 2008, while Eid received his Fifa badge in 2009. Taleb does not have a Fifa badge.

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