Badminton: Police investigating match-fixing allegations after Danish complaints

(REUTERS) - Police are investigating allegations of attempted match-fixing in badminton after two leading Danish professionals alerted the authorities.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) confirmed on Monday that it has reported the incidents to police and would be co-operating in an on-going investigation.

Two of Denmark's leading players, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Kim Astrup, told the BWF through its betting "whistle-blower" system that they were approached in June and invited to conspire with others to fix matches.

The Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) said the players, world No. 9 singles player Vittinghus and men's doubles No. 22 Astrup, were approached by a Malaysian man through Facebook just before the Japan Open in June.

DR reported that Vittinghus rejected the offer immediately, reported it to the BWF and asked the organisation to open an investigation.

Astrup, according to reports, decided to glean more information, asking the alleged match fixer questions before rejecting the offer.

According to DR, Astrup was offered in the region of 3,000 euros (S$4,840) per match and was told he could earn even more if he bet on his own matches. The player then reported the details to the BWF.

"BWF is very satisfied that the players who were contacted about the match-fixing offer completely rejected it and also reported the case through the BWF 'Whistle Blower' system that has been set up precisely to handle such incidents," said BWF president, retired Danish star Poul-Erik Hoyer Larsen, on Monday.

Vittinghus told DR: "It is quite scary to be contacted this way by people who want to harm our sport. The only thing I could do was to report the would-be fixer to BWF. "But from Facebook, I can see that this guy got accreditation to tournaments and I can see him pose with some of the best Asian players. This scares me.

"By giving this interview and talking about match-fixing, I hope that everyone will be aware that it is a part of our sport as well as several others. We need to do whatever we can to put an end to it. It goes against everything I stand for as a badminton player."

Astrup revealed to DR that the man had told him that he had also fixed matches in the Thomas Cup and Singapore Open, two of badminton's biggest tournaments.

"If the Thomas Cup is fixed, we are talking about one of the biggest tournaments in our sport being manipulated. We have to deal with it, because if it can happen here, it can happen everywhere," said Astrup.

The Kuala Lumpur-based BWF said they had informed the "appropriate police authorities", believed to be in Malaysia, of what they had been told, lodged a report and handed over related documents.