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'Sex bribe' officials appear in court

April 4, 2013
By ESPN staff

Two match officials from Lebanon have appeared in court for the first time charged with receiving sexual bribes, while a third is likely to follow on Monday after falling ill and missing the prelimiary hearing.

The Malaysian FA are taking allegations of match-fixing seriously
PA Photos

Referee Ali Sabbagh and assistants Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb were withdrawn from officiating Tampines Rovers' 4-2 AFC Cup loss to East Bengal of India on Wednesday and charged with "corruptly receiving gratification in the form of free sexual service'' by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

Sabbagh and Taleb appeared in court on Friday but Eid was admitted to Singapore General Hospital after being taken ill in his cell. All three remain in custody and Singapore subordinate court Judge Kamala Ponnampalam scheduled a bail hearing for Wednesday. Prosecutor Asoka Markandu said bail would be opposed.

The officials were allegedly provided with a woman each at the Amara Hotel on Wednesday as an inducement to fix the match.

The maximum punishment is five years in jail and/or a fine of SGD $100,000 (£53,000).

In February, an investigation by Europol uncovered allegations of match-fixing in around 380 games across Europe and found that a further 300 games played outside the continent were questionable.

Later that month, the Lebanese Football Association punished 24 players for their involvement in fixing both international and regional matches.