Twelve arrested in Thai match-fixing probe

Twelve people including Thailand T1 League players, referees and a club director have been arrested as part of an investigation into match fixing, Thai football officials said on Tuesday.

Football Association of Thailand (FAT) president Somyot Poompanmuang held a press conference with the national police chief on Tuesday to announce the arrests after a year-long probe raised questions over the results of four matches – one in July and three in September.

The 12 men, who are accused of “receiving money or benefits in order to throw a game” or influencing others to throw a game or manipulate the score, were arrested and then released on bail, according to the police.

The club captain, a forward and a goalkeeper from Navy Club, plus one player from Nakhon Ratchasima are alleged to have been paid around $6,100 to throw matches.

Details of the probe were released just days after the end of the 2017 season.

Suspicions were raised due to the unusual amount of last-minute goals in matches involving Nakhon Ratchasima, according to the authorities.

Nakhon Ratchasima finished in 12th place in the recently concluded league while Navy Club ended the season in 13th place.

A referee, a linesman and a director at relegated Sisaket FC are also accused of involvement in match fixing along with four Thai businessmen.

None of those arrested has been formally charged, but police are continuing their investigations in order to gather more evidence, police officials said.

“This is a historic case,” Thai Police chief Chakthip Chaijinda told reporters.

“We believe that this group still exists and it might be quite big because they have been operating for so long.”