Course for Indian soccer referees for awareness on corruption

New Delhi: The IPL spot-fixing scandal has set the alarm bells ringing in other sports as well with the All India Football Federation introducing a refresher course for referees in an attempt to keep them away from corruption.

"We have already started preparing the modules (for materials on match fixing) and it will be a subject in the next course which is in August," Gautam Kar, Head of Referees Department of the AIFF, told PTI today.

Kar, who is also an Elite AFC Match Commissioner, added that he has been in touch with the Asian Football Federation and also contacted the concerned security officer in this regard.

"Around two hours will be dedicated to the subject and it is very important as our referees are very naive. They are not very much aware of ways to deal with such situations as they are very simple souls."

"We are committed towards curbing corruption and are doing everything possible to combat it," he added.

The development can be linked to the IPL spot-fixing scandal that has rocked Indian cricket. Three cricketers, two co-owners and a handful of bookies have already been arrested allegedly for their involvement in betting and spot-fixing in the cash-rich T20 league.

But Kar pointed out that the AIFF was mulling ways to combat corruption since a Lebanese referee and his two compatriot linesmen were arrested in April in Singapore on match-fixing charges.

"We were in fact thinking about something like this since the last season, when the Lebanese match-fixing scandal broke out," Kar said.

FIFA-accredited referee Ali Sabbagh, 34, and linesmen Ali Eid, 33, and Abdallah Taleb, 37, were accused of accepting free sex offered by Singapore businessman Eric Ding Si Yang as an inducement to fix the AFC Cup match.

Sabbagh was sentenced to six months` imprisonment by a Singapore court yesterday. The two linesmen were each given three-month jail sentences but ordered to be deported to Lebanon, considering the fact that they have been in jail since April.