Thai court indicts 15 in football match-fixing scandal

thai court indicts 15 in football match fixing scandal
Thai football fans wave scarves in unison during a World Cup qualifying match: now the domestic league has been hit by match-fixing claims AFP/LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA

The announcement follows a lengthy investigation which saw many of the accused arrested and released on bail.

The Attorney General"s office said in a statement the 15 were charged with "violating sport laws, gambling laws and criminal codes".

The penalties could range from one to ten years in jail or up to 600,000 baht (US$18,000) in fines.

All have denied the charges and a court will convene to gather evidence in September, the statement said.

It did not mention the specific clubs.

In November the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) said a dozen people had been accused of "receiving money or benefits in order to throw a game" or influencing others to throw a game or manipulate the score.

But it said more could be swept up in what the national police chief called a "historic" investigation for the sport.

The FAT released the details of the probe days after the end of the football season, after noticing an unusual number of last-minute goals involving one football club.

Thais are football-mad and the boss of the FAT, a former police chief, vowed to clean up the sport when he took office.

Police said at the time that the most paid to players and officials to fix a single game was the equivalent of around US$27,000.

Thai league football was once notorious for match-fixing but in recent years the league has professionalised.