New Delhi: Ranjit Bajaj, the owner of I-League club Minerva Punjab, claimed that two of his players had been approached by bookies with offers of Rs 30 lakh to fix matches in the football league. One of the players is Indian while the other is a foreigner. Also Read - FIFA Cancels Next Year's U-17 Women's World Cup in India, Allots it 2022 Edition
However, Bajaj refused to name the players but revealed that Indian footballer had got offered money on a phone call on Tuesday, while the other one (foreigner) was approached via Facebook on Wednesday evening. Also Read - I-League 2020-21 to Start on January 9: AIFF
Bajaj, whose Miverva are currently leading I-League with 22 points from nine matches, further said that he approached the All India Football Federation (AIFF) integrity officer to report the development and also reported the fixing offers on Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) integrity app. Also Read - I-League Likely to be Postponed to December End in Wake of Coronavirus Pandemic
Bajaj also tweeted that the menace of match-fixing has hit India and there are people who are trying to singe the reputation of the game.
“We need to be ultra careful now/ the cat’s out of the bag/ it has arrived in our country/ the curse of horrible people trying to ruin our beautiful game with the immediate lure of easy big money/ really hope NO MATCH OFFICIALS or PLAYERS fall in this trap,” Bajaj had wrote on his Twitter handle.
Acting on Bajaj’s complains, AIFF stressed on its zero-tolerance policy on corruption, saying it would leave no stone unturned to “protect the integrity” of the sport
AIFF’s integrity officer Javed Siraj, who has been heading its anti-corruption unit since August 2014 as per the FIFA guidelines, felt the need of the hour is to “jointly combat any threats which can bring disrepute to the sport”
Referring to reports about Minerva Punjab Football Club footballers being approached by fixers, Siraj stated: “I need to applaud the two footballers who recognised, rejected and reported the incident
“We await an official complaint from the club and will leave no stone unturned to protect the integrity of football.” (With PTI inputs)