Football, The Beautiful Game? Think again; new book offers insight into match-fixing

Match-fixing, kelong kings and the dirty business behind the beautiful game.

A 152-page book called Foul! The inside story of Singapore match fixers will reveal the untold story of prominent Singaporean match fixers who have taken their criminal activities to the international scene. Written by The New Paper's Senior Correspondent Zaihan Mohamed Yusof, it will look at the inner mechanisms of match-fixing syndicates and their trade secrets. In many cases, match-fixing has deadly repercussions such as assault, murder and suicide.

The book also offers first-hand interviews with Singapore match fixers such as Wilson Raj Perumal and shows action taken by both local and international authorities to curb the rampant crime.

Foul! started with Mr Zaihan's award-winning report New Paper report, Global Kelong Kings: Singapore has 'academy of match fixers', says Fifa. The report, published in 2011, won Story of the Year in the Singapore Press Holdings' 2012 English and Malay Newspaper Division awards.

On encouragement from New Paper editor Dominic Nathan, Mr Zaihan turned his reporting to writing the book on football's dirtier side.

A Europol report in February last year said that out of 680 matches suspected of being fixed, 300 had strong links to a Singapore match-fixing cartel. "After knowing this, I felt I was ready (to write the book). I sensed there was international curiosity as to why and how a group of Singaporeans was able to compromise football on the international stage," Mr Zaihan said.

In May last year, Mr Zaihan heard that undercover officers had begun to infiltrate the infamous Wilson Raj syndicate. Later in September, authorities also cracked down on match-fixing syndicates which led to the arrest of the so-called Singapore Kelong King Dan Tan and 13 others.

Things fell into place and Foul! was written and completed in three months, based on research materials collated over four years.

Foul! will be officially launched at the SPH News Centre auditorium next Monday. It can be ordered online at www.stpressbooks.com.sg from Friday.