Ex-FIFA head of security praises Singapore for match-fixing fight

Singapore has been praised for its efforts in fighting the problem of match-fixing by FIFA's former head of security.

Chris Eaton, who's now an independent sports integrity adviser, says that the Republic deserves praise for stamping out the problem on its shores.

"It took a long time, about two to three years, before Singapore stopped saying: 'It's not happening in Singapore, it's none of our business,'" Eaton told the World Lottery Summit at Marina Bay Sands on Monday, as quoted by the Singapore Straits Times.

"Singapore has been exemplary in identifying, and stopping the bleeding."

Eaton's comments came as four Laos players were provisionally suspended by the AFC for suspected match-fixing on Monday.

Despite successful efforts in shutting down match-fixing operations in Singapore, Eaton urged the island nation to stay vigilant, while helping the rest of Southeast Asia.

"[The local prosecutors] have been effective, you have closed down one international match-fixing cartel, but there are others," he said.

"I'd like to see Singapore exert some influence in the region... but the problem is still common in Southeast Asia."

Eaton is a former Australian police officer who was security advisor to FIFA for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and is now based in Doha.

Former Laos national coach Steve Darby suggested that legalising betting in more Southeast Asian countries might help curb the temptation to manipulate match results for profit.

"Perhaps if we accept that people will gamble, and legalise it, with the profits being ploughed back into the game, and society in general, we can reduce it," said Darby, an English-born Australian who was also assistant Thailand boss.

"Pay players on time, fund education programs because player education is vital, as are strict sanctions. But the key is get the top people who are involved, not just the players."