FIFA bans 74 for match-fixing in Italy, SKorea

ZURICH (AP) — FIFA has banned 74 more officials and players from world soccer for helping fix matches, this time in Italy and South Korea.

FIFA says it imposed sanctions on 70 people, including 11 who were banned for life, after a series of cases prosecuted by Italian soccer authorities.

FIFA says the charges involved “match-fixing (direct involvement or omission to report match-fixing), illegal betting or corrupt organization (association to commit illicit acts).”

Prosecutors in Cremona, Bari and Napoli have pieced together a conspiracy they believe was organized from Singapore to bet on rigged Italian soccer games.

Last week, Italian authorities detained suspect Admir Suljic, a Slovenian national, when he landed in Milan on a flight from Singapore. Suljic, alleged to be an associate of Singaporean businessman Tan Seet Eng, faces charges of criminal association and sports fraud.

Tan, also known as Dan Tan, is accused of heading a crime syndicate that has made millions of dollars gambling on fixed matches around the world.

Singapore police said last week that Tan was assisting its investigation into alleged match-fixing.

FIFA said the four new South Korean cases follow worldwide sanctions imposed on 10 people last year and a further 41 last month.

The latest global sanctions were announced two days after FIFA extended bans to 58 people found guilty of match-fixing offenses in China. Of those, FIFA expelled 33 from soccer for life, including 2002 World Cup referee Lu Jun.

FIFA can apply worldwide sanctions after national associations complete their own investigations and impose bans.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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