Global Match-Fixer Perumal Suspected Of Masterminding Australian Football Matches
The world's "biggest match-fixer is suspected of masterminding the rigging" of professional football matches in the second tier Victoria Premier League while under police protection in Europe, according to McKenzie, Bucci & Baker of THE AGE. Authorities "are examining how Wilson Raj Perumal was able to allegedly control the biggest match-fixing operation in Australian history despite ostensibly being under police protection in Hungary as a supergrass on match-fixing cases there." On Sunday, Victorian detectives "arrested nine players and the coach of the Southern Stars Football Club in Melbourne's south-east." Perumal is suspected of recruiting skilled "journeymen" players from the U.K. to join Australia's second-tier football league, "where they could more easily manipulate the outcome of games but still play in matches that attracted large betting pools across Asia." The accused players "may have allegedly fixed every match they played this season after being directed by the syndicate to lose, draw or win, or to concede goals or commit fouls at certain periods of the game." Southern Stars Club President Ercan Cicek said that "his club had been provided with five players from England this season at no expense but he had no suspicion of any alleged match-fixing until news of the arrests on Sunday." Cicek: "Last year somebody emailed me from England, [saying] 'We want to sponsor your club.' Our committee members are thinking, 'Oh beautiful, five players for free, we're not going to pay anything, it's a big, big bonus''' (THE AGE, 9/16).
TIME ON THEIR SIDE: REUTERS' Nick Mulvenney wrote Victoria police Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said that "there was a big threat of match fixing in Australia because of the attractiveness of the time zone to gamblers in other countries." Ashton said in a statement, "It's believed there has been estimated betting winnings in Australia and overseas of more than A$2M ($1.8M) identified to date in connection with this particular operation. We will continue to work with the relevant sporting codes and the Australian Crime Commission to create an environment that is hostile to those seeking to engage in illegal activities involving our sporting codes" (REUTERS, 9/15).
WARNING SIGNS: In Melbourne, David Davutovic wrote the Southern Stars betting scandal "is a massive warning" for football clubs Australia-wide. And while the technical gurus have long warned about the damage internationals can have on the development of Aussie kids, Sunday's arrests "prove that the foreign influx poses a far greater threat." Little due diligence is done on these players (usually a recommendation from an individual, which appears to have happened in this case) "most of whom have played at a modest level abroad." It is believed coach Zaya Younan -- who was also arrested -- "was involved in recruiting the players, all of whom came from England" (HERALD SUN, 9/16).