The All India Football Federation (AIFF) stressed on its zero-tolerance policy on corruption, saying it would leave no stone unturned to "protect the integrity" of the sport. The statement comes in wake of I-League club Minerva FC's report against a match-fixing attempt. AIFF's integrity officer Javed Siraj, who has been heading its anti-corruption unit since August 2014 as per the FIFA guidelines, felt the need of the hour is to "jointly combat any threats which can bring disrepute to the sport".
Referring to reports about Minerva Punjab Football Club footballers being approached by fixers, Siraj stated: "I need to applaud the two footballers who recognised, rejected and reported the incident. "We await an official complaint from the club and will leave no stone unturned to protect the integrity of football."
An Indian and a foreign player of Minerva were offered bribes of up to Rs 30 lakh each in an alleged match-fixing attempt, the club's owner Ranjit Bajaj tweeted.
Siraj said, "We have been conducting regular educative and awareness workshops with the various clubs and even various age-group national teams on a regular basis. "This time, too, prior to the kick-off of the Hero I- League, we met majority of the clubs making them aware as what needs to be done in case of any crisis," he said.
Bajaj said the club reported the issue to AIFF and also apprised he Asian Football Confederation. Siraj said, "We always pay emphasis on the three Rs -- recognise, reject and report. Our aim is to protect the players and the officials and protect from the malice of manipulation."
"All the matches of Hero I-League and Hero ISL as well important matches of other tournaments are being monitored by Sportradar, London which has been sending us regular reports," he added.
Minerva FC are leading the I-League table this season, having accumulated 22 points from nine matches. "Very recently, the Asian Football Confederation has launched an app on integrity wherein any team member can directly pass on information regarding approach," Siraj said.
On Wednesday, Bajaj wrote on his twitter handle, "2 of my players came to me with screenshots of match fixing offers of 30 lakhs/I reported it to Aiff integrity officer&also AFC thru their integrity app/really hope these unscrupulous elements are not successful in getting thru2other players and match officials @ILeagueOfficial."
(With PTI Inputs)