The House News
7th January 2014
Peter Leung: Match Fixing Often Involves China Players, Cultural Difference is Understandable
Happy Valley Athletic Association (a Hong Kong football club) is allegedly to be involved in match fixing, and are currently under the investigation of Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Kwong Hiu Ming, former Director of HVAA, said that the key sponsor of HVAA is China company Canshow, which offers US$650,000 sponsorship each season. In September 2013, Canshow demanded to replace a large number of the then existing players, Kwong detested such demand and left HVAA in December 2013. Pui Kwan-kay,Chairman of HVAA and Deputy Chairman of Hong Kong Football Association, said in a radio interview today that he learnt about the disagreement between Kwong and Canshow only a couple of months agao. Pui tried to mediate the situation but claimed that his effort was in vain. Pui also stressed that sponsors of football teams have always been able to control the teams’ formations, even if a player has not been performing, if the team’s sponsor likes him, he can still play for the team in games.
Peter Leung Sau-chi, manager of Eastern Salon Football Team, said in the same interview that in most of the suspected match fixing cases in the past few years involves China players. He also said that they are probably more vulnerable to temptation, “this is understandable. China’s culture is very different from ours. We are simply different and we cannot rush them into accepting our way.” Leung also said that there have been people filming 1st division games in the recent past and they do look suspicious.
Pui Kwan-kay said after the interview that HVAA recently terminate their contracts with a number of players on loan. There are 18 registered players at HVAA and there is a game scheduled on 11th January. If any of the players cannot represent the team because of the incident (ICAC’s investigation), it would be a major problem to the team. The deputy manager of the team is liaising with the Football Association to find if the game can be postponed or if the team has to abstain. The FA’s initial feedback is not willing to reschedule the game.
According to Apple Daily’s report today, it is suspected that someone at the team who has a large amount of debt approached some of the players in the team to fix matches. ICAC is currently investigating if any of the money is coming from China. The ICAC also reminded the Football Association to pay extra attention to HVAA and Tuen Mun Sports Association which are sponsored by Chinese companies.
The article also mentioned that the 21st December match between HVAA and Kit Chee was the reason for the ICAC to launch this investigation. When HVAA was one nil down, goalkeeper Leung Man-lai shouted at his teammates, “are you still playing or not? If you don’t want to, I’m out of here!” Someone informed the FA’s management after the match, and the case was passed to the ICAC.
The ICAC brought at least seven HVAA players in for investigation, including midfielder Fan Weijun, former national forward Chao Peng-fei, midfielders Lau Ka-shing and Wilfred Bamnjo, goalkeeper Darko Bozovic and defender Sasa Mus.