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Football: Three match officials charged in S'pore court

Three Lebanese match officials, one referee and two assistant referee, have been charged with corruptly receiving gratification in the form of free sexual services.

SINGAPORE: Three Lebanese soccer referees were charged Thursday for receiving sexual bribes in exchange for fixing a match in Singapore, the government's anti-corruption bureau said.

Referee Ali Sabbagh, and assistants Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb, were charged before a district court for "corruptly" receiving sexual gratification "as an inducement" to fix the match they were to officiate Wednesday, court documents showed.

The charge sheets said the three committed an offence punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The three had been due to officiate in Tampines Rovers' AFC Cup fixture with East Bengal when they were abruptly dropped and questioned by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

Replacement officials were brought in for the game, which was won 4-2 by the Indian team.

CPIB said in a statement Thursday they had acted on "prior information of match fixing" involving the three referees.

"Subsequent investigations revealed that the trio corruptly received gratification... in the form of free sexual service from three females," the CPIB said in a statement.

"Singapore has always adopted a zero tolerance approach towards corruption, and match fixing of any form is not condoned in Singapore," it said.