AFC launches probe after players given life bans for matchfixing by Lebanese football authorities
The Asian Football Confederation has launched an investigation into matchfixing in Lebanese football after two players were given life bans yesterday.
The Lebanese Football Federation confirmed bans for Malaysian-based defender Ramez Dayoub and Indonesian-based forward Mahmoud El-Ali, after punishing 22 players following a two-month investigation into rigged games.
Now the AFC is to probe allegations of matchfixing in the country.
"We have received a report today and our disciplinary committee are looking into it," an AFC spokesman said.
The two-month investigation involving over 60 witnesses was led by the general secretary of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), Fadi Zreiqat, who said the players had the right to appeal the decision.
Dayoub, who along with Ali was fined $15,000, denied the allegations and said he would fight to clear his name.
"I am not guilty. They have suspended me and accused me of matchfixing without any evidence or proof," Ramez told Fox Sports. "This is a serious allegation and I have no doubt there's something behind this.
"If I really am guilty of matchfixing, Fifa will investigate and suspend me, not the Lebanese FA."
Dayoub, who joined Malaysian team Selangor last year from Myanmar side Magway FC, last played a World Cup qualifier in June when Lebanon lost 3-0 in South Korea.
El-Ali played for Lebanon in the WAFF Championship in December but hit side failed to advance to the knockout stages.
Another two domestic players, Al-Negma's Mohammad Jaafar and Al Ahed's Hadi Sahmarani, were banned for three seasons and handed $7,000 fines for their involvement. Ten more of Sahmarani's team mates at the Lebanese Premier League club were banned for a year and each given $2,000 fines.
The club were knocked out in the group stage of the 2012 AFC Cup. Zreiqat said some players had confessed.
The news comes following a Europol report which claimed a Singapore-based syndicate had directed matchfixing for at least 380 football games in Europe alone.
Lebanon are still in the running to qualify for their first World Cup finals with three matches remaining but any punishment from the AFC or world governing body Fifa could see their hopes dashed.
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Updated: February 27, 2013 04:00 AM