News 26 May 2015

Malta FA contacted by clubs over match-fixing concerns

The Malta Football Association (MFA) has confirmed that it was contacted by officials from both clubs involved in a 15 May play-off for promotion to/relegation from the Maltese Premier League, due to suspicions that players were being offered money to fix the game. ‘For the sake of correctness, the MFA clarifies that in the days preceding the play-off match between Mosta FC and Gżira United FC, officials at both clubs approached the MFA Integrity Officer with suspicions that their players were being offered sums of money to lose the match’, read a 24 May statement. ‘However, such statements were only suspicions and were not based on facts, and at no time was evidence produced’.

The MFA statement said that the President of Gżira United FC asked the MFA to see if it could intervene to block bets on the match. After consultation with its betting partners, the MFA said that it had advised gambling companies not to offer bets on the game, as a precaution. It said that the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) also received a letter from Gżira United FC outlining its suspicions, and predicting that the game would end 3-2 go Mosta FC, and also advised gambling companies not to take bets on the game. Mosta FC won the match to maintain its place in the Premier League.

‘When there are decisive matches at the end of the season, there are always rumours that there may be some sort of corruption’, read the MFA statement. ‘However, in 99% of cases, they are based on fear of losing, or distrust between the clubs, rather than concrete facts’.

The MFA issued the statement in response to a local newspaper report, which is understood to have made serious allegations against MFA officials. Gżira United FC also distanced themselves from the article, which alleged the amounts that had been offered to fix the game. ‘In the communications between the MFA and GUFC, the figure of €30,000 was never mentioned in any way’, read a statement from the Division One club.

The MFA statement invited the journalist and newspaper concerned to ‘immediately inform that police to initiate the necessary investigation, as they are obliged by law’. It warned the media to be careful to report the facts and not the ‘suspicions of individuals that are close to some journalists’. It added that if the article in question was based on suspicion and not concrete evidence, ‘the MFA expects such claims to be withdrawn immediately’. The Sports Integrity Initiative searched for the article concerned, however it appears to have been withdrawn.

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