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Asian chief admits match fixing issues in region

The acting head of the Asian Football Confederation, Zhang Jilong, told a meeting in Malaysia about match-fixing that it had become "a pandemic" which no organisation could fight alone. The two-day conference in Kuala Lumpur was organised by Interpol and Fifa.

In his opening remarks, Mr Zhang, who is from China, said it was time to "admit that match-fixing is a real danger to football's ethical values and needs to be eliminated to preserve the sanctity of the sport".

He said the problem was "too complicated and widespread for one organisation to fight it alone".

He acknowledged that Asia has become a centre of match-fixing, but said that "no continent is now left untouched by this disease. Match-fixing is now a pandemic in the world [of] football."

Earlier this month, police in Europe said an organised crime syndicate based in Singapore had been behind the rigging of hundreds of games between 2008 and 2011.

Fifa's security chief Ralf Mutschke said the issue went beyond Fifa's jurisdiction, and that while football's governing body could ban players and referees, "criminals are out there free - they get no sentence. That's wrong".

"We have to bring in governments to change legislation and laws. Many countries do not have laws to fight match manipulation," he said.

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Dave Williams

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