Six footballers from the Johor FC President’s Cup (Under-20) squad have been suspended with immediate effect on suspicion of match-fixing.
The club’s secretary Tahir Hamdan said the six would remain suspended until police investigations are over.
“They are suspended without salary. We view the matter seriously and will not hesitate to take drastic action against any player found to have flouted the law,” a concerned Tahir said yesterday.
Tahir said elements of match-fixing had surfaced in the President’s Cup competition following Johor FC’s surprise 3-0 win over Perlis at the Pasir Gudang Stadium on Feb 16.
He said Johor FC had earlier lost all three matches after going down to Perak (2-0), Armed Forces (1-0) and Muar MC (1-0). After the unexpected win over Perlis, the club side were beaten 3-1 by Terengganu in their last game.
Johor FC were the first club side to win the President’s Cup in 2009.
Tahir had lodged a police report after the Perlis match on Feb 17. It is learnt that team officials had confiscated the mobile phones of the players after the match and found elements of match-fixing.
Johor Chief Police Officer Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said police have completed their investigations and the case has now been taken over by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Johor MACC chief Simi Abdul Ghani said the players concerned “will be called up soon” to have their statements taken.
On Feb 16, newly-elected Johor FA president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim said two Johor teams in the Premier League competition – Muar MC and Johor Baru City Council – were suspected of being linked to match-fixing.
The other team in the Premier League is the Johor state team.
Early this month, the FA of Malaysia (FAM) suspended 11 players from the President’s Cup (national Under-20 league) and banned a Negri Sembilan coach for life for fixing matches last season.
FAM later revealed that they had more leads into match-fixing with three M-League teams under investigation.