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Straits Times Press to launch book on Singapore football match fixers

AsiaOne | Thursday, Jun 12, 2014

Foul! is a 152-page book that unveils the untold story of prominent Singaporean match fixers who have boldly plied their trade on the international football scene.

SINGAPORE - Straits Times Press (STP), the book publishing arm of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), will be launching its latest release "Foul! The inside story of Singapore match fixers" on Monday, June 16, at the SPH News Centre auditorium. The author of the book is Mr Zaihan Mohamed Yusof, Senior Correspondent at The New Paper (TNP).

Foul! is a 152-page book that unveils the untold story of prominent Singaporean match fixers who have boldly plied their trade on the international football scene. It gives a comprehensive account of the situation, covering a diverse array of topics. They include the inner mechanisms of a match-fixing syndicate, trade secrets and tricks on and off the pitch, the manifold layers of a dirty business steeped in violence and trickery, and the ultimate deadly repercussions of assault, suicide and murder.

The book also has first-hand interviews with the infamous Wilson Raj Perumal and other Singapore match fixers - or "Kelong Kings" - of past and present, and official statements and actions by both local and international authorities. The book ends with an update of the fight against match fixing, in light of the 2014 World Cup that is currently taking place in Brazil.

The genesis of the book was SPH's English and Malay Newspaper Division (EMND) Annual awards held in March 2012. Zaihan had just won for "Story of the Year", for his report "Global Kelong Kings: Singapore has 'academy of match fixers' says Fifa", which was published in The New Paper on 30 April 2011. He also clinched the Journalist of the Year award as well.

Zaihan said: "Following my EMND awards victories, my editor Dominic Nathan suggested that we take a step further by writing a book on this topic. But I wanted more time to be familiar with the subject as I sought out further developments on the global match-fixing scandals. In February 2013, Europol announced that it had discovered 680 matches that were suspected to be fixed. Out of this number, 300 of them had strong links to a Singapore match-fixing cartel. After knowing this I felt I was ready. I sensed there was international curiosity into why and how a group of Singaporeans was able to compromise football on the international stage."

He added: "Things began to fell into place and by May 2013, I began to hear about the initial stages of Wilson Raj's syndicate being infiltrated by undercover investigators. In September 2013, the world heard of the anti-kelong crackdown that led to the arrest of Singaporean Kelong King Dan Tan and 13 others in his syndicate."

The book was written and completed in three months, based on research materials that had been collated over a four-year period.

Ms Shirley Hew, Publisher and Executive Director, Straits Times Press said: "This is yet another successful collaboration between TNP, the newspaper, and ST Press, the publisher. It is the result of the reach, network and core strengths of each team - TNP's inside track and knowledge into the world of The Beautiful Game with exposés and its quintessential ability to produce a page turner using their flair in art and narrative; combined with ST Press' publishing capability to bring book to market in a timely fashion. Yet another demonstration of SPH's multiplatform and cross-channel capabilities."

Mr Dominic Nathan, Editor, The New Paper said: "TNP prides itself in extensive football news reporting and investigative reporting on the game. Through his hard work, Zaihan has become one of the leading experts on this topic, having written over 140 investigative reports on global football match-fixing syndicates, particularly in Asia. His views have been sought after by international publications and quoted in Al Jazeera, BBC, ESPN, The New York Times, Radio France, The Financial Times and AFP, among many others."

He added: "In the tradition of TNP-style reporting, readers can expect scoops within the pages of the story. From how a convicted match fixer placed under house arrest is still able to direct match-fixing attempts overseas, to revelations from the progenitor of match fixing in Singapore admitting that Dan Tan was once his runner. Hear the voices from almost all the characters in the kelong line-up as they dish up the dirt on their rivals. Most importantly, see and learn how one match fixing syndicate was infiltrated by foreign undercover investigators through the use of social media."

"Foul! The inside story of Singapore match fixers" is available at leading bookstores at $19.26 (GST inclusive) from Friday, 13 June onwards. The book can also be ordered from the Straits Times Press online bookstore at: www.stpressbooks.com.sg .

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