The corruption that refuses to go away in Asia.

As it stands, football has proven beyond any shadow of doubt that it is one corrupt game full of scrupulous and shoddy characters. From the high echelons of FIFA in Switzerland all the way round the globe to small but strong and influential mafias of match fixing in Asia, the corruption is rife in every sense of the word. And the sport is labeled the “Beautiful Game”.

The latest scandal , hitting the English Football this time, the same football the claims purity and the guardian of ethics and the birthplace of the sport, is the stories of English youth teams coaches sexually abusing under-age players in several clubs. Paedophile coaches being allowed to abuse the children they are entrusted to coach and nourish their talents.

In Asia, a continent that has variety of corruption episodes, this time the big headlines comes from South Korea, arguable the top nation of Asian football.

Few months ago, the scandal began with stories of corrupt refereeing making the headlines. A team that was relegated few years back in to second division by the name of Gyeongnam, was found to be  guilty of bribing referees.  However, the allegations were the kick off for much bigger story and it hit the most popular team in the country. 

Referees admitted that mega club Jeonbuk was also involved in such violation.  Subsequent police investigation revealed that the club bribed referees in at least 5 matches

Korean FA disciplinary committee decided to deduct only 9 points of Jeonbuk’s tally and fine the club 100 million Won (85,000 dollars). In Italy, Juventus was relegated to a lower division for a similar offense.

On the same token the AFC, which claims to be the guardian of ethics and constantly fights match fixing, has recently punished and suspended many players, officials and teams due to their part in match fixing incidents. Recently, U-16 North Korea’s goalkeeper and manager been suspended for a year because of such cases.

The AFC, for reasons only known to themselves,  decided to conveniently ignore the allegations against Jeonbuk and took no actions in this case when it was proven in Korea. Perhaps there are not enough Korean employees in KL AFC’s headquarters who can read and speak Korean!  Or maybe it’s because of the decision date, after the semifinal first leg. But there are reasons to think there is more to it than meets the eyes behind the decision of the governing body of Asian Football.. And as if to highlight how corruption does pay off in football, the Korean team lifted the AFC champions league trophy after piping Al Ain in the two-legged final.

So, we have a crooked team lifting the AFC Champions League, and that surely puts into question AFC’s authenticity and its message of “fight against corruption” of all types. If AFC is genuine, it should have a strong policy against anyone who is proven to have committed or was involved in a corrupt deal, else the whole process will be looked upon as flawed, biased, politically motivated and depends highly on who is the culprit. Not exactly a fair game at all, AFC !

You might think the Iranians are paranoid when it comes to accusations of bias against them in the AFC corridor of power, but the reality and the events proves their point. The latest AFC bias is expected soon when it, the AFC , headed by an Arab President who hardly clocks any hours in the office in Kuala Lumpur, will once again side with the brethren  Saudi Arabs and force Iranian teams to host Saudi clubs outside of Iran in the AFC champions league. The excuse, the safety concern , the real reason though is purely politics.