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Lebanese referee sentenced to six months' jail for match-fixing

Published on Jun 11, 2013 10:57 AM
 
Referee Ali Sabbagh gestures during the AFC Cup soccer match between Kuwait's Al Qadsia and Yemen's Al Saqr in Kuwait City April 12, 2011. Fifa-accredited Lebanese referee Ali Sabbagh, 34, was on Tuesday sentenced to six months' jail for match-fixing. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

Fifa-accredited Lebanese referee Ali Sabbagh, 34, was on Tuesday sentenced to six months' jail for match-fixing.

His term will be backdated to April 4 this year when he was charged for accepting sexual gratification arranged by alleged matchfixer Eric Ding Si Yang, 31, in return for fixing a football match he would be officiating in future.

District Judge Low Wee Ping said: "You were not only cultivated by Ding, you also in turn went on to cultivate, or included, the co-accused linesmen as potential corrupt international football officials." The judge was referring to linesmen Ali Eid, 33 and Abdallah Taleb, 37, who were on Monday sentenced to three months' jail, also backdated to April 4. He added that due to Sabbagh's greater culpability, "it follows that (his) sentence must be a multiple of theirs. "

But the judge took into account the "very significant mitigating factor" that Sabbagh had pleaded guilty when the trial started, and "saved much court time and the state's resources". The Straits Times understands that the two linesmen were released from jail on Monday evening for good behaviour. They will remain in custody of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority until they are deported Tuesday night.