Hong Kong Football Association to tackle match-fixing following Interpol meeting
Governing body says it is trying to be 'proactive' in tackling corruption in the game
The Hong Kong Football Association says it is working on an action plan to tackle match-fixing and corruption following a key meeting with Interpol last month.
First Division clubs Happy Valley and Tuen Mun were suspended from the league in January after players were arrested by the ICAC amid an investigation into alleged match-fixing.
The HKFA found the clubs had brought the game into disrepute.
The HKFA revealed on Thursday that it held a meeting with representatives from Interpol, Fifa, the Hong Kong Police Force, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the Home Affairs Bureau (sport and recreation branch) and Hong Kong Jockey Club on April 7.
The meeting was held “in an attempt to be proactive and tackle any match-fixing and corruption issues in Hong Kong football”.
In a statement, the HKFA said: “The purpose of the meeting was to develop a national coordinated framework to prevent future incidents of match-fixing and prepare an action plan for the HKFA and other stakeholders.
"A development plan to tackle the issues was prepared following the meeting and deadlines for implementation agreed.
“The partners and stakeholders will meet again in Hong Kong in August 2014 to assess progress and develop further the strategy to eliminate match-fixing and corruption in Hong Kong football.”
In February, HKFA chief executive Mark Sutcliffe said the decision to suspend Tuen Mun and Happy Valley had to be a warning for the rest of Hong Kong football ahead of a move to a full-time professional Premier League next season.
“We hope this will send a strong message that the HKFA is serious about cleaning up the sport in terms of the governance and financial stability of the clubs,” said Sutcliffe then.
“This is also an indication of how keen we are to raise playing standards as we look ahead to the new Hong Kong Premier League next season.
“Our investigations had nothing to do with match-fixing. We took a decision to suspend both clubs simply because they have brought the game into disrepute by not being able to meet their financial obligations and due to their governance.
'We felt it was not viable for both clubs to continue for the rest of the season,” he said.