Players at a Victorian soccer club who rigged games for a Singaporean match fixing syndicate were told it was a “life and death” situation after they botched a result.
Zia Younan was the coach of the Southern Stars when he and some players began co-operating with the syndicate to manipulate outcomes in the Victorian Premier League and net lucrative betting jackpots.
Younan helped corrupt the outcome of two games, against the Green Gully and Richmond soccer clubs during the 2013 season.
Younan’s role was to ensure the international players complicit with the syndicate played so that they could manipulate the outcome.
Police say the Southern Stars were a better side than many of the teams they lost to, which enabled them to control the outcome.
But despite this they still botched one match, losing 0-3 instead of 0-4 and infuriating the syndicate leaders.
He said this was like life and death and that (they) lost a lot of money and we needed to get it back.
The syndicate’s Melbourne ringleader Segaran “Gerry” Subramaniam told one player after the game there was serious pressure to get the right result in the next match.
“The boss had lost a lot of money on games when we didn’t pull the mission off,” the player said of the conversation, according to court documents.
“He said this was like life and death and that (they) lost a lot of money and we needed to get it back.”
Defence barrister Antony Trood said Younan was a reluctant player, and a small cog in the wheel of a much larger operation.
Younan also saw the match fixing as a way to ensure that the Southern Stars could pay their players, despite their dire financial state, he told the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday.
“He sees this as the way there might be some payments made to all of the players,” Mr Trood said.
Magistrate Duncan Reynolds sentenced Younan to a four-month jail term fully suspended for a year and fined him $3000.
Younan, 37, of Wantirna South, pleaded guilty to engaging in conduct which corrupted the betting outcome of an event.
Along with Younan, three Southern Stars players have now been convicted and received life bans from the sport.
Subramaniam, 46, was jailed for three years, two of which were suspended, in April.