Football: Match-fixing under control, so Singapore can help region

(Left to right) President of World Lottery Association Jean-Luc Moner-Banet, GLMS President and Singapore Pools CEO Seah Chin Siong and Independent Advisor on Sports Integrity Chris Eaton attend the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) press confe
(Left to right) President of World Lottery Association Jean-Luc Moner-Banet, GLMS President and Singapore Pools CEO Seah Chin Siong and Independent Advisor on Sports Integrity Chris Eaton attend the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) press conference.PHOTO: AFP

Singapore was called an "academy of match-fixers" five years ago by Chris Eaton, who was then the head of security at Fifa, football's world governing body.

But yesterday, Eaton, who is now an independent sports integrity adviser, felt that the Republic has done enough to combat illegal sports-betting activities within its shores.

Speaking at the World Lottery Summit at Marina Bay Sands yesterday, he said: "It took a long time, about two to three years before Singapore stopped saying: 'It's not happening in Singapore, it's none of our business'."

Singapore Pools, which runs legalised lotteries in Singapore, is part of an international alliance called Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) formed by 29 operators from 27 countries. The grouping is led by president Seah Chin Siong, who is the chief executive officer of Singapore Pools.

It provides data on sports betting, and this information is analysed to detect any unusual betting irregularities. The GLMS has flagged 822 alerts from June 2015 to May this year.

  • 822

  • Alerts flagged by the Global Lottery Monitoring System alliance on unusual betting patterns from June 2015 to May this year.

However, he warned that Singapore remains vulnerable to allowing match-fixing crimes to infiltrate its system.

The 64-year-old Australian, who began his career with the Victoria state police, said: "It's (the local prosecutors) been effective, you have closed down one international match-fixing cartel, but there are others.

"And you are not devoid of it here either, your close association to Malaysia is the reason why. And Malaysia is the epicentre today."

In recent years, Singaporean Dan Tan made global headlines when he was arrested, along with 13 others, in a series of police raids in September 2013.

His alleged syndicate is believed to have rigged over 150 matches across Europe, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Turkey and Trinidad and Tobago.

Tan, 52, described by Interpol as "the leader of the world's most notorious match-fixing syndicate", is currently being detained without trial under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act.

Eaton stressed that to keep sports clean, sports betting should be regulated, monitored and properly governed, so as to "take the money out of their (match-fixers') hands".

And he hopes to see Singapore play a greater role in helping its neighbours fight and detect match-fixing activities.

He said: "It's still proliferating in Malaysia. I'd like to see Singapore exert some influence in the region. Singapore has been exemplary in identifying and stopping the bleeding. But the problem is still common in South-east Asia."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2016, with the headline 'Match-fixing under control, so Singapore can help region'. Print Edition | Subscribe