An investigator that has been working with FIFA to investigate match-fixing scandals around the world says that a Singaporean crime syndicate tried to infiltrate the lucrative world of the J-League by contacting one of the clubs. Fortunately, the unnamed but powerful team refused to cooperate with the fixers.
Match-fixing has been a thorn on the side of football leagues all over the world, but so far, it has failed to Japan’s premier professional league. The investigator said that J-League matches has one of the highest online betting rates by bookmakers not just in the region but also in Southeast Asia. He said he will not be surprised if there will be a match-fixing scandal soon, especially as the league prepares to establish the J3 division, that will feature both amateur and professional players. According to his source, the syndicate moved on to China when they realized that it was difficult to establish a game-fixing scheme in Japan. This year, several match-fixing scandals were discovered in China’s professional league that has affected clubs, players and referees alike.
The Japan Football Association (JFA) and the J-League said they are not aware of any cases and none of the teams have informed them of any attempt by syndicates. An official from the JFA said, “I don’t think there will be no cases of contact (from match-fixing organizations).” Nonetheless, they are planning to establish an integrity council to make sure that football games and leagues will stay free from these criminal elements. They will be including members from the National Police Agency, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and the sports ministry, together with referees and players. The council will share information and come up with preventive measures against any possible problems related to match-fixing that may come up.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]