Former match-fixer advises limiting online bets to cut down fixing

BUDAPEST, Hungary — 

Limiting online betting to matches in the world’s top leagues would help cut down on fixing because those games are not as easy to manipulate, according to convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal.

Perumal, now living in Hungary, on Wednesday presented the local edition of his book ”Kelong Kings,” which details his exploits and shows ”to what extent football and football betting are corrupt.”

”The best thing to do is to curb online gambling,” Perumal said. ”Even if licenses are given to some companies, betting should be limited to high-level leagues which are not easy to corrupt.”

Players’ high salaries in the top leagues would make bribing efforts too expensive.

”I would be crazy to fix a match that I get no financial benefit from,” Perumal said.

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He added that while football authorities like FIFA and UEFA had introduced some measures to cut down on corruption, ”to stop match fixing completely is something that I don’t think can happen” for now.

Perumal said that since football outside the top leagues is ”not a lucrative business,” club owners and players relied on revenues from match fixing.

”In order to stay afloat, some clubs and some players are still involved in match fixing, especially” in less developed regions in Eastern Europe and Asia, he said.

Perumal, who said that now he only gambles on football ”for fun,” speculated that a few years back a match in Hungary – on which bets of 250,000 euros ($312,000) could be placed in Asia – could be fixed by giving each of five players 10,000 euros ($12,500).

The Singapore native, whose testimony has also helped convict several of his former associates in his homeland, says he does not feel any ”imminent threat” to his life.

”I’m not under witness protection,” Perumal said. ”If someone wants to take revenge it is not in my hands but I’ve enjoyed my life and I’m not afraid to die.”

Perumal is also the key witness for the prosecution in a Hungarian trial involving 12 defendants, including Tan Seet Eng, a Singaporean also known as Dan Tan, the alleged head of a crime syndicate suspected of rigging matches around the world.