Football: Three held in Malaysia football match-fixing probe

KUALA LUMPUR - Two Malaysian football players and a bookmaker have been detained on suspicion of match-fixing after a shock loss in the country's second-tier league, an official said Thursday (Feb 15).

The trio, who included a defender and midfielder playing for Sarawak on Borneo island, were arrested by anti-corruption authorities on Wednesday, the Football Association of Sarawak said. It came after Sarawak lost 3-2 against Felcra FC in suspicious circumstances during a Premier League game at the weekend.

Sarawak had been leading 2-0 but in the final six minutes, a Felcra player scored three headers to clinch victory for his team. The match was played in Sarawak's capital Kuching.

"It does not make sense at all," Posa Majais, president of the Football Association of Sarawak told AFP.

"In the last six minutes, one player headed in three weak goals. This made us suspicious that match-fixing could have happen."

The Star news website reported that the trio had been remanded in custody for six days while the probe is ongoing. If found guilty they face a seven year jail term, the paper said.

Malaysian football has been plagued by match-fixing over the years, and betting syndicates from the country have also been active overseas. In a major 1994 scandal, 21 players and coaches were sacked and 58 players suspended.