Saturday, June 21, 2008

Investigate till the last drop

IN lodging a police report on allegations of match-fixing, Malaysian Hockey Federation secretary Hashim Yusoff was quick to add the association didn’t suspect any foul play by the players.

Hashim’s stand is commendable but MHF should not be too quick in refuting this, and the numerous other allegations that have been made. Yes, most of the allegations came via several anonymous e-mails which were sent to, among others, the Sports Minister, National Sports Council, Olympic Council of Malaysia and the media but MHF is duty bound to investigate their worthiness.
It has no other choice for the image of the sport has been tainted as the e-mails have spread like wildfire.
Among the allegations, some of which were first made when Malaysia failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, were that some players received money to play in a tournament, are involved in betting in the English Premier League, had fixed an Azlan Shah Cup match and that a coach was involved in money-lending activities.
The last e-mail was even more personal in nature as it made derogatory comments about several officials from MHF and NSC.
MHF has made the right move by lodging the police report as any allegation of match-fixing, given football’s history, has to be investigated.
But it shouldn’t stop there for the other allegations need to be investigated by MHF.
Both players and officials have been implicated and should MHF just brush the allegations off, hockey’s name will be tarnished for good.
The belief within MHF circles is that this is merely a smear campaign due to unhappiness with the federation but even if that ultimately proves to be true, the allegations need to be thoroughly investigated.
And should there be an iota of truth in even one of the allegations, then action should be taken against those guilty.
But if they are merely allegations, MHF must also leave no stone unturned to nab the sender or senders of the e-mail.
The game demands it.

MHF lodge police report

Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary Sgt Hashim Yusoff (left) with lawyer Amrit Pal Singh in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. After consulting the lawyer, the MHF lodged a police report yesterday.
Sgt Hashim Yusoff leaving the Pudu Police Station in Kuala Lumpur after lodging the report.

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) yesterday lodged a police report on allegations by an English daily that their players are involved in match fixing, and other illegal activities.
The report was lodged by MHF secretary Sgt Hashim Yusoff after receiving instructions from MHF president Tan Sri Admiral (Rtd) Anwar Mohamed Nor and MHF deputy president Tunku Majid Sultan Iskandar.

The daily yesterday quoted a player who alleged that his teammates had fixed an Azlan Shah Cup match, received money to play in a tournament, are involved in betting in the English Premier League and also alleged that a coach was involved in money-lending activities.
"We at the MHF strongly believe that the allegations are untrue, and so we lodged a police report today (yesterday).
"The report was lodged so that police can call those who have the alleged information on match fixing, bribery, illegal betting and money lending activities and investigate thoroughly," said Hashim.
The MHF has appointed lawyer Amrit Pal Singh to handle the case.

"We want those who have the alleged information, which has put the Federation in bad light, to stop writing articles, and instead co-operate with the police in their investigations.
"These are some serious allegations, and we will let the police handle them from now onwards," said Hashim.
MHF's management committee is meeting on Monday.
"We will provide further information, if any, in a press conference after the meeting," said Hashim.
Malaysian hockey officials and players have come under a series of attacks on cyberspace, after they failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics and then finished last in the Azlan Shah Cup.