Sports and fixing are two things that often goes hand in hand and football is not exempted from this negativity. News of match-fixing or spot fixing or players being proposed by bookies and opponent officials often surface in different parts of the World. But when allegations of such unlawful stuff come in association with one of the most elite club football competitions in the World, where stakes are high for multiple parties, then things become serious.
TalkSports 24X7 can confirm that such a thing could take place on the concluding day of the AFC Cup Group stage in the match between Aizawl FC of India and New Radiant of Maldives. The match was in Group E and was being played in Guwahati parallel to which the other match of the same group between Bengaluru FC of India and Dhaka Abahani of Bangladesh was being played simultaneously, with the qualification of New Radiant and BFC in stake.
A player of Aizawl FC has disclosed to our sources that he was given a ‘Big offer’ during the match via a player of New Radiant to concede a penalty in exchange of money. According to the player,”It’s a case of an AFC Cup Match. One player in the New Radiant team asked me in the half time to give them a penalty for 6000 dollar”!
The match ended 2-1 in favour of Aizawl and the player did not accept the offer from the foreigner of New Radiant, but if the sum offered is true then it can be inferred that such a proposal can’t arrive without the green signal of management. We contacted the General Manager of New Radiant Mohammed Ismail regarding this issue. He said,”I have no idea about this. The club would not tolerate any such behaviour and strongly voice against such actions.”! According to the Aizawl player, after the match he told the whole issue to Head Coach Santosh Kashyap and Team Manager Hmingthana Zadeng but they did not show much urge to take any necessary consequent steps against it. We contacted both Zadeng and Aizawl FC owner Robert Royte but both denied to comment on this issue.
The juncture at which this offer was made (According to the player) was a crucial stage in Group E regarding qualification to next round. On 18th May, before the start of the two matches, New Radiant was standing at the top of Group E with 12 points and a +8 goal difference while Bengaluru FC was on the second spot with same number of points with a +7 goal difference. So it was clear that if BFC recorded a win(which was expected) then New Radiant will also have to defeat Aizawl with a good goal margin. While Bengaluru was leading by 2 goals at the half-time, the match between New Radiant and Aizawl was goalless at the half time, with New Radiant desperately needing a goal when the offer arrived to the Aizawl player via the New Radiant player. In this connection it must be told that both the player being offered and the player offering knew each other before.
The Aizawl footballer who was being offered, mailed and contacted AIFF Integrity Officer Javed Siraj and other concerned officials but he has not yet received any strong assurance of proper investigation into this issue, which could not only hamper the aspirations of a club bout could also hamper the MA Rankings of a nation ultimately hampering it’s clubs overall!
(We have not disclosed the identity of the players for obvious reasons)