Kuala Lumpur: A top Malaysian goalkeeper could be facing heavy punishment after officials opened a probe into alleged match-fixing over an own goal that incensed his manager.
Terengganu 'keeper Sharbinee Allawee Ramli has been questioned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission over Saturday's incident, when he clawed a high ball from a corner into his own net in the 1-1 Malaysia Cup draw with Kedah.
Sharbinee was substituted by English coach Peter Butler, who shoved the player as he left the field and later questioned his honesty. Sharbinee has denied any wrongdoing, and welcomed the investigation as a way to clear his name.
"It pains me to show my face in public whenever I bungle in a match but it hurts even more now when people accuse me of being corrupt," he told local media.
If Sharbinee is found guilty of match-fixing, he could be banned from all football-related activities. He also faces the risk of criminal corruption charges, which carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
"I don't want people like that working in my environment," Butler told Malaysian media. "We've got some wonderful footballers in that group. I don't want people who are not honest."
A senior Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) official declined to comment on the case on Thursday, citing the ongoing investigation.
Allegations of match-fixing have long tainted football in the Southeast Asian nation. Earlier this year, FAM suspended 18 youth players and banned a coach for life for fixing matches, saying it is serious about tackling the problem.
Last year, three people, including the coach and a Singaporean bookmaker, were charged in court with bribing players with up to 7,000 ringgit ($2,300) to fix matches during the President's Cup last year and in 2010.
Malaysian football has struggled to recover from a 1994 scandal that saw 21 players and coaches sacked, 58 players suspended and 126 players questioned over corruption.