Match Fixing in Pakistan Premier League

by Alam Zeb Safi [The News]

KARACHI: Fixing is rampant in the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) and might damage it irreparably if the authorities failed to pay attention, said sources in various participating teams.

A source in one of the top teams told ‘The News’ on Thursday that mostly the officials of the teams are involved in fixing matches and that the players do not have any major role in making such deals.

Fixing is done to avoid relegation as officials of the participating teams normally are under pressure from their higher authorities for producing good performance.

He said that fixing is usually made on reciprocal basis. For example, two teams make certain commitment that they will lose their away matches against each other.

“Last year, I was approached by a an official of a team who were on the verge of relegation. He told me that my team should lose against his side as it would help his team to avoid relegation but I declined his offer,” said a team official, requesting anonymity.

“We were really under pressure from different sides throughout the league but we stuck to the principles,” he said.

“I know that this menace has been there for the last four or five years,” the official said.

Another team official said that some outfits have been doing these things since the inception of the league nine years back. He said such teams always lose their away games against each other.

The players are told before the match about the whole situation and they follow their directions and eventually the desired result is produced.

The players and officials of the team who lose the match are even gifted different items like blankets and shoes.

Sources revealed that a team that intend to lose a game also drop a few of their key players.

In order to remain unnoticed, some teams even hold their matches early in the morning while violating the official timings on the excuse of security risk.

Sources also disclosed that some referees are also influenced through bribes to favour a certain team in a match.
Experts said that it is difficult to remove the ailment in totality but efforts should be made by the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) to minimise it.

A team official said that the PFF should issue letters to the participating teams before the beginning of the Premier League to warn them that if they are found guilty of deliberately losing the game they will be banned forever.

“I think it’s the right time to check and arrest the fire before it could turn into ashes the whole competitions on which several million rupees are spent annually,” the official said.

Another team official suggested that there should be two separate leagues. “I think the PFF should hold two separate leagues, one for departments and the other for clubs. Unless clubs are separated, match-fixing cannot be controlled,” he said.

An expert also suggested that the PFF should make a monitoring committee comprising honest individuals to watch crucial matches as not only weak sides but some good sides are also involved in fixing.