Golden's new boy in probe

HONG KONG First Division club Golden yesterday said they will go ahead with the signing of Uzbekistan striker Azamat Abduraimov despite the Asian Games gold medallist being under an intense police investigation over corruption allegations in the Malaysian Professional League.

Golden last week splashed out a Hong Kong record fee of $700,000 for Abduraimov who helped his country to glory in Hiroshima in October.

But now Malaysian police have confirmed that Abduraimov, who plays for Pahang, is wanted for questioning as part of an extended investigation into alleged match-fixing in Malaysia.

Abduraimov has since returned to his native country on holiday, but police officials said they would fly to Uzbekistan to conduct their investigations.

Abduraimov is expected to return to Malaysia before making his move to the territory in mid-January.

Pahang were last week thrashed 4-0 by Singapore in the Malaysia Cup final and since that defeat three players have admitted fixing matches.


Up to 51 players have been detained in the graft inquiry although more than 100 players are expected to be questioned in the crackdown.

A Golden spokesman yesterday said his club will still bring Abduraimov to Hong Kong despite the police probe.

Abduraimov is expected to spearhead the Golden frontline with Lee Bullen and Bosnian forward Alen Bajkusa and, at this stage, his move here is under no threat.

A Malaysian source in Kuala Lumpur yesterday said: 'Police want to question Abduraimov over the Malaysia Cup final although it doesn't mean he is guilty of any wrong-doing at this stage.


'However, a lot of people think that there was something definitely amiss about the Malaysia Cup final.' Meanwhile, Sing Tao boss Ng Chung has booked the Hong Kong Stadium for June 17 and 19 for the end-of-season Super League.

Ng said that the top four clubs from the First Division would battle it out in the first phase of the competition.


Then the top two from the first phase would meet two top clubs from Europe in the second part of the tournament.

Ng hopes to bring Italian giants Juventus, Sampdoria or Inter Milan to the territory for the event.

He has suggested that the top team from the first phase receive $100,000 while the champions of the second picks up $300,000.


'We were planning to get South Korean League champions Lucky Goldstar over here in March, but we are having some logistical problems and we may have to cancel their visit,' said Ng.

South China vice-chairman Albert Hung also has ambitious plans to bring a top overseas club here and English Premier League side Manchester United are high on his list.

United could play here in August, according to Hung.


He said that he has been negotiating with United for months and is confident of securing a pre-season clash against South China, hopefully at the Hong Kong Stadium.

South China have already made plans to play Italian Serie A champions AC Milan in an exhibition match, sponsored by Philip Morris, at the Hong Kong Stadium on June 4.

South China take on the Hong Kong national squad in a friendly at the South China ground on Thursday morning in an Interport Cup warm-up clash.