Soccer Cheating Reduced by Polygraph Testing, Official Says

Soccer match-fixing in Singapore has been reduced by compulsory lie detector tests for players as the country tries to stop criminal syndicates infiltrating the game.

Singapore’s S-League introduced lie detection tests into players’ code of conduct in 2001 after revelations that several matches had been fixed.

“It is now compulsory for all players to go through polygraph tests,” Winston Lee, general secretary of the Singapore F.A., told delegates at the Leaders in Football conference at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge today. “They have to sign a form agreeing to the polygraph tests, and we can have a random test.”

In August Juventus Football Club (JUVE) SpA’s coach Antonio Conte was suspended for 10 months by Italy’s soccer federation for failing to report a match-fixing incident. Around 45 people including players and coaches for 13 teams were accused of involvement in a case that police said involved match-fixing and illegal betting. Conte wasn’t accused of fixing directly. Wilson Perumal, a Singapore national, was jailed for two years in Finland last year for fixing matches there.

“Match-fixing is a cancer in football and it’s everywhere, it’s not just confined to Asia,” Lee said. “We have taken a very strong stand against match-fixing and we are quite happy that it is working.”

The measures haven’t stopped criminal groups from trying to influence Singaporean games.

“Recently some foreigners flew into the country and offered a large sum of money to a goalkeeper,” Lee said. “He reported this to our F.A. and we had these people arrested and they are now in jail in Singapore.”

FIFPRO, an umbrella organization for professional players, questioned the efficacy of polygraph tests after they were introduced by Bulgarian team Lokomotiv Plovdiv.

“Many scientists have criticized the use of the lie detector,” FIFPro lawyer Wil van Megen said. “Experts say that people can cheat at these tests, that people can be influenced while taking these tests, that these tests can give the wrong results. Simply put: lie detector tests are dubious.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in the London newsroom at 3677 or tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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