12 Arrested in Thai Football Rigging Inquiry

Somyot Poompunmuang, in a polo shirt, center left, is congratulated by an official from the Asian Football Confederation, in Bangkok, Feb. 11, 2016

BANGKOK — Football Association of Thailand president Somyot Poompanmuang says five players and two match officials from the top-flight national league are among 12 people arrested for alleged match-fixing.

Somyot held a news conference Tuesday with national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda to announce an investigation was underway into the results of a match in July and three matches in September.

Police reported that four players from the Navy club and one from Nakhon Ratchasima were allegedly paid up to 200,000 Thai baht ($6,100) to manipulate results.

The FAT and Royal Thai Police used information from data services company Sportradar as part of the investigation after reports of an unusual number of goals being scored in the late stages of the games.

“Match-fixing has been committed for a long time,” Somyot said during the news conference at the Royal Thai Police headquarters. “It’s time we eradicate this wrongdoing which is like a bad diseased of our body that needs to be cured.”

Chakthip said 12 people were in custody. Court details were not immediately available.

Somyat said those involved had confessed to the match-fixing.

“I have to give big credit to the Royal Thai Police for their work or otherwise we will see the fall of Thai football if match-fixing is not tackled,” Somyot said.

Chakthip said the alleged fixing was coordinated through a network comprising players, two referees, a club official and domestic and international investors.

He said the match and club officials can face up to 10 years in prison and fines if found guilty of match-fixing, and players could face up to five years in jail and fines.