COLOMBO: Asia’s football body has warned the Maldives risks being suspended from international competition after anti-corruption investigators launched a probe into alleged ticket fraud at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup.
The AFC said the Maldives’ anti-corruption commission did not have the authority to investigate. Brawls broke out on Sunday when disgruntled fans were unable to buy tickets.
“Since the jurisdiction to investigate any misconduct remains exclusively with the AFC and FIFA, if any domestic investigative authority attempts to intervene in the affairs of AFC or in any tournament conducted by AFC in partnership with FAM, the Republic of Maldives, as a member of AFC and FIFA is at risk of being penalised for such intervention, including suspension from international events and tournaments,” the AFC said in a statement.
The statement added that the Football Association of Maldives (FAM) is regularly audited by the AFC “and remains in good standing”.
“AFC also believes that (the) conduct of FAM in the current tournament is transparent, and in accordance with the established rules of the AFC,” it said.
There was no immediate comment from the independent Anti-Corruption Commission of the Maldives.
Scuffles broke out in the capital Male when tickets for Tuesday’s semi-finals went on sale but fell short of demand. Disappointed fans accused officials of selling them on the black market for a higher price.
In Tuesday’s semifinals, Maldives was schedule to play the Philippines and Afghanistan was to face Palestine. The eventual champions earn a place at next year’s Asian Cup.