Match-fixing issues never seem to stop. Just some weeks ago, tennis player Roman Khassanov was found guilty of match-fixing, and now Maltese football club Attard FC’s former committee member, Rudgear Scerri, admitted to having engaged in similar underhand practices. This resulted in the football team receiving a nine-point penalty for the next season and the 21-year-old committee member receiving various punishments.
Rudgear Scerri Pleads Guilty
The match in question is the game between Attard FC and Kalkara FC that took place on December 5, 2020. Scerri approached the opposing team and tried to reach an agreement with its players where they would throw the game. Attard FC eventually won said game with a 5-0 result.
However, an anonymous report soon informed the police of Scerri’s fraudulent attempt. Authorities launched an investigation where they searched his house and found a large amount of cash set aside (between around $24,000 and $37,000). Scerri quickly found himself standing before the court. He admitted to his wrongdoings and, in turn, received a $61,000 fine.
Additionally, he was immediately suspended from participating in any football activities. Furthermore, the attorney general is pushing for Scerri to receive an actual jail sentence for the crime.
The Whole Team Gets in Trouble
Scerri’s fraud incriminated the whole Attard FC team, and the latter was accused of breaching the Malta Football Association’s regulations on bribery and betting. The court is conclusive that Scerri’s confession and the Court of Magistrates’ judgment are enough evidence to prove the charges brought against Attard FC.
As a result, the club received a fine of $1200 and will have to begin its next season with a penalty of nine points. Attard FC retains the right to appeal this decision if it would like to do so. Attard FC failed to advance in the Challenge League and will instead continue playing in the National Amateur League.
As match-fixing continues to endanger the fair play in the sports industry, the Malta Football Players Association has made its own attempt to combat fraud: the association collaborated with the Malta Football Association and the police to create the Red Button application. The app lets MFPA members report any suspicious behavior that occurs. It keeps users’ anonymity in order to keep them safe from conflict.
Football’s global popularity has made it a prime target of match-fixing attempts. It’s a seemingly never-ending issue that should be constantly addressed by the respective sports associations and the police forces. The Swedish Football Association recently added its own contribution to the fight against match-fixing by partnering with Sportradar and using its services to monitor competitions.