17th January 2017

Laos match-fixing investigation could encompass World Cup qualifiers

A match-fixing investigation involving Laos’ national soccer teams could also encompass a number of FIFA World Cup qualifiers, independent sources have told The Sports Integrity Initiative. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced the investigation in November last year. Four players were provisionally suspended at the time for 60 days, a period which has now elapsed.

Few details about the investigation have been released, but with games going back to 2010 under the microscope and the possible involvement of youth-level teams, dozen of results have potentially been rigged. The SII has been told October 2015’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against Myanmar was flagged as suspicious by three betting-monitoring companies. A qualifier between the same two teams in June that same year was also flagged as suspicious in Federbet’s Annual Fixed Matches report.

However, with suspicious betting indicating Laos was expected to win, the eventual 2-2 result may not have been the result fixers were after, if indeed the match was fixed. Odds on the ‘Over 2.5’ market – which means 3 or more goals would need to be scored in the match for a payout to occur – also drew suspicion.

The SII has also been told that the Laos national men’s team may have swapped wins with a different opponent in its previous World Cup campaign, and that a syndicate thought to be under investigation dwarfs well-known fixers, such as Wilson Raj Perumal.

The investigation was triggered by irregular betting patterns discovered through Sportradar’s Fraud Detection System. Sportradar is working in collaboration with the AFC and FIFA to investigate the situation. Sportradar data was the primary grounds for the recent suspension of Albania’s KF Skenderbeu from UEFA competitions, a finding supported by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

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