While risk-taking during a game may make the difference between winning or losing, a recent matter involving the Victorian Premier League has demonstrated that the legal risks of actions outside the field can have dire outcomes. As The Australian reported, last month Southern Star coach Zaya Younan and four players were arrested following allegations of running a scam that made a European syndicate millions of dollars through players purposefully missing goals. A convicted match fixer, Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, is thought to be the mastermind behind fixing the outcome of the club’s games dating back to July 21 to September 13, 2013. He is thought to have been in contact with Malaysian national Segaran Gsubramaniam, to ensure Younan and players knew what scores were required for each game to make bets win. Gsubramaniam has been identified as the local fixer of the Southern Star’s matches, and charged with five counts of “facilitating conduct that corrupts a betting outcome”. The Age reported that Younan has been charged with ten counts of similar offences, and the four players that were allegedly operating in full knowledge of what was going on are to face court again on December 6.
According to the League, all of the Southern Star’s results from 2013 have been wiped from the record, while all results from matches with the club will not be valid. While online gambling websites were still accepting bets for what would have been the Southern Star’s last game of the season on September 22nd, the scandal engulfing the club saw the Bentleigh Greens find another opponent, as the Greens’ coach said there would have been “nothing to play for”.
Football Federation Victoria has expressed concern over the risk that gambling activities pose to the credibility and integrity of the Victorian Premier League, and Victoria Police’s Purana task force has confirmed that other soccer clubs in Queensland and Victoria are now under investigation.
While the risks of illegal betting to players and officials have been widely publicised in sport for some time, the appeal of the potential monetary reward will seemingly not deter some people from getting involved. It shows that it remains an ongoing risk to all major sporting codes.