GFA to probe ‘suspicious match-fixing’ in Pro League

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Panaji: The Goa Football Association (GFA) on Thursday informed that it will conduct an investigation on the six red-flagged matches of Goa Pro League held last year and appoint a five-member panel headed by a retired judge to investigate the “suspicious match-fixing”.

GFA’s decision comes after the AIFF asked it to conduct an investigation on the said matches held from October 16 to November 19, 2019 involving seven teams.

GFA president Churchill Alemao stated that the AFC report itself states that there “was suspicious betting patterns indicative of match-manipulation.”

He pointed out that the AFC report in all six matches highlighted that “there was a highly suspicious live betting, there being substantial betting evidence that the outcome of the matches were unduly influenced with a view to gaining corrupt betting profits. In some matches it was a failed manipulation attempt.”

The preliminary conclusion of the AFC report states: “There is clear and overwhelming betting evidence that the course or result of the matches were unduly influenced with a view to gain corrupt betting profits.”

Consequently, Alemao stressed that an investigation will be undertaken in this case of “suspicious match fixing” based on “suspicious betting patterns”. As such, the need to give an authentic picture that there is suspicion. A five-member investigative panel is likely to be headed by a retired judge and will comprise lawyers and others. Sports Radar is a London based company that tracks all bets placed on sports events around the world, using a monitoring software. There are instances where bets are placed on events in a match like yellow cards, red cards, goals scored, goals conceded, match result. In many countries abroad this azis completely legal. In India, betting is illegal.

The Sports Radar concludes that due to this suspicious betting pattern, it indicates fixing. A report is then sent to AFC/AIFF showing red flags. It is only after the findings of the inquiry it is established whether the match was fixed or not.

In the case of GPL, the AFC suggested that there is evidence of suspicious betting pattern which indicates fixing, there being no proof as yet to establish that match fixing actually took place.

Meanwhile, the GFA has stated that Churchill Brothers Sports Club has arranged the sponsorship for Goa Professional League (GPL) through Accord Sports Inc for three years – Rs 25 lakh for 2020-21, Rs 30 lakh for 2021-22 and Rs 40 lakh for 2021-22 with TV, satellite, cable, digital coverage, billboards, merchandising, fanzones, screening, branding, etc.