'Lie-detector test will help curb fixers'
The introduction of lie-detector tests for soccer players has had a big impact on reducing match-fixing and corruption in Singapore, Winston Lee, the general secretary of the Singapore FA said on Wednesday.
Lee told delegates at the Leaders In Soccer business convention at Stamford Bridge, the home of European champions Chelsea, that the use of polygraph tests for players was a key deterrent in the fight against match-fixing, though it could probably never be eradicated totally.
"Match-fixing is a cancer in football and it's everywhere, it's not just confined to Asia," Lee said.
His comments came shortly after the World Players' Union FIFPro criticised a decision by Bulgarian club Lokomotiv Plovdiv to order its players to take lie detector tests following concerns over match-fixing.
Lee said the system had worked well in Singapore after being introduced on a random basis in 2001. "We introduced polygraph tests and it is now compulsory for all players to go through them.
"They have to sign a form agreeing to the polygraph tests, and we can have a random test. All players are tested for fitness, and so on, and now they have to have a random polygraph test as well. "We have taken a very strong stand against match-fixing and we are quite happy that it is working. You can never totally eradicate the problem but it is realistic to try and reduce it and this is one way we have done this."
He said it was now also compulsory for players to report any approaches they received from people about throwing games. "The most vulnerable players here are the young ones or players nearing retirement; they are their targets. So it is mandatory for players to report approaches by suspicious bodies.
"Recently some foreigners flew into the country and offered a large sum of money to a goalkeeper and he reported this to our FA and we had these people arrested and they are now in jail in Singapore."