Soccer

Thai football boss to meet FIFA over fixing claim

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BANGKOK (AP)

Thailand's football chief says he plans to meet with officials from FIFA and Interpol on Thursday over allegations of match fixing during last year's Thai FA Cup final.

Football Association of Thailand president and longtime FIFA executive committee member Worawi Makudi said the Asian Football Confederation last week informed him of possible irregularities surrounding November's Cup final between Buriram FC and Royal Thai Army after Japanese referee Yoshida Toshimitsu claimed he was offered bribes to favor of one of the two teams.

Interpol and FIFA, football's world governing body, were holding a conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, starting Wedesday.

Worawi met with the FAT executive board for several hours Tuesday in Bangkok, but said he would wait for further investigations before commenting further on the allegations.

''We have no evidence if the two clubs are guilty or not,'' he said. ''My comments at this point will not do any good for the two teams.''

The Thai allegations come after European Union police agency, Europol, reported earlier this month that organized crime gangs have fixed or tried to fix hundreds of football matches around the world in recent years.

Europol said an 18-month review found 380 suspicious matches in Europe and another 300 questionable games outside the continent, mainly in Africa, Asia and South and Central America. It also found evidence that a Singapore-based crime syndicate was involved in some of the match-fixing.

This week, the Chinese Football Association stripped Shanghai Shenhua of its 2003 league title and fined it $160,000 as part of a new round of sanctions aimed at stamping out match fixing in the Chinese Super League.

The CFA banned 33 officials and players for life during a three-year investigation into corruption in the CSL.

In Thailand, Buriram, owned by former politician Newin Chidchob, won last year's FA Cup final 2-1 at the Supachalasia stadium in Bangkok to earn an AFC Champions League play-off against Australian club Brisbane Roar. Buriram advanced to the Champions League tournament after beating Brisbane on penalties.



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