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INDONESIA AND THAILAND BANNED AFTER TIGER CUP FARCE

Both had initially been fined $40,000 by the ASEAN Football Federation, the regional South East Asian body, after Indonesia scored a deliberate own goal to give Thailand a 3-2 victory in a group match both wanted to lose.

The fine was later reduced by the AFF to a withdrawal of prize money to the two countries – who both lost in the semifinals – but the AFC were determined to act after worldwide condemnation.

Peter Velappan, the general secretary of the AFC, said the suspension would continue until the issue was heard by the confederation’s disciplinary committee at the end of October, when further action may be taken.

“The executive committee was very concerned with this farcical match,” said Velappan.

“It was a case of deliberate match fixing by Indonesia and Thailand and this match brought gross disrepute to the game of football and also to the image of Asian football.”

Velappan said the disciplinary committee would conduct a “thorough examination” of the match and that the ban would take immediate effect.

The ban means neither side will be able to take part in any friendly or competitive matches until the disciplinary committee files its report to the executive at its next meeting in Lebanon on October 23.

Velappan stressed the ban would not effect Thailand’s hosting of the Asian Youth Championships in Chiangmai in the middle of October.

The controversial Tiger Cup group match took place on August 31 after both countries had previously said they did not want to win, and so face hosts and Cup favourites Vietnam in the semifinals.

With the match level at 2-2 in injury time, Indonesian player Mursyid Effendi turned and shot into his own net, past a goalkeeper who made no attempt to save the shot.

It meant Thailand won 3-2 but the Indonesian players and fans celebrated the goal that gave them their desired semifinal against outsiders Singapore.

In the event Singapore won that match 2-1 and went on to the final where they beat Vietnam 1-0. Vietnam had beaten Thailand 3-0 in the other semifinal.

In the aftermanth of the match the entire Thai management team resigned while the Indonesians withdrew from the Asian Games’ soccer tournament, being held in Bangkok in December.

Reuters