In what has emerged as a worrying trend, a few I-League clubs have reported ‘approaches’ made by ‘dodgy foreign men’ to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in the recent past, the association’s senior vice-president Subrata Dutta has revealed.
While Dutta did not disclose the identity of the clubs in question, he assured that attempts to influence results of the matches have been unsuccessful so far. Concerned with this pressing issue, and in a bid to ensure the cancer doesn’t spread further, FIFA will be sending Interpol officers to Delhi next week to conduct a workshop with the stakeholders of Indian football.
The conference, which will be held on January 15 and 16, is likely to be attended by more than 60 people involved in Indian football, including players, coaches, match officials and administrators.
“Interpol’s meeting with the clubs and other stakeholders comes at the right time. A few clubs have been approached by undesirable foreign elements recently, which has been worrying us. This workshop is a preventive measure taken by FIFA,” Dutta said.
Dutta added that with India set to host a few big football tournaments, like the Indian Super League and Under-17 football World Cup, the country can be an easy target for those trying to make money through unscrupulous means.
“India is fast evolving as a football nation and a lot of money is going to be flowing in and out of the sport. Hence, at a time when we will be vulnerable to a lot of things, it is necessary that all stakeholders are made aware of corruption in football and the consequences of it,” Dutta said.
Asia has been outed as a major hub of a global match-fixing net and has been under FIFA and Interpol’s radar for quite some time now. The Interpol, in fact, has played a pivotal role in exposing the scam and arresting the global ringleader of the scam, a Singaporean named Dan Tan, in September last year.