Thai ref denies match-fixing in Singapore

Thai referee Thanom Borikut yesterday pleaded innocence after a probe into a match-fixing allegation in Singapore pointed the finger at a Thai official identified only as "Thanom".

Evidence of the Thai official's involvement was unearthed during an investigation into an alleged attempt to rig an AFC Cup match in 2013 by Singapore national Eric Ding Si Yang. On Ding's seized phone, investigators found a Line chat app conversation with a Thai referee in which another official ("Thanom") was discussed.

Though the messages did not specify any particular match, there was reportedly "mention of a failure to give goals that caused discord between the accused and Thanom".

However, Thanom insisted he knows nothing about the match-fixing case, in which Ding offered bribes of sex with prostitutes to three Lebanese officials in exchange for rigging the result of a Cup fixture between Singapore's Tampines Rovers and East Bengal of India.

"I know nothing about the case. I haven't been to Singapore for 10 years. I have a Singaporean referee as friend but I'm sure he has nothing to do with the case," said Thanom, who is no stranger to controversy after being seriously wounded in a shooting last year.

Gen Chinsen Thongkomol, chairman of the Football Association of Thailand's refereeing committee, refused to comment on the Thai link to the case. "It's a story from foreign media and we don't know whether it's true. If it's true, the AFC [Asian Football Confederation] will inform me to investigate it."