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Sport chief raises Asian match fixing concerns

The head of the Australian Football League said he will raise concerns about the sport’s infiltration by Asian match-fixing gangs with the incoming Tony Abbott-led government.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou contacted the Victorian state sports minister in December with a warning about the “huge and emerging threat” of Asian match-fixing syndicates and wants new laws allowing police to share intelligence with the AFL, reports said.

In his letter, obtained by the Melbourne Herald Sun, Demetriou described the threat as “dire”.

“Asian match-fixing syndicates operate literally on our doorstep and are a huge and emerging threat,” he said.

“We understand that recently Victoria police and the ACC [Australian Crime Commission] have become aware of serious and imminent threats to the integrity of Australian sport.”

An AFL spokesman said the league had written to every state government asking them to support legislative changes to allow police to share information.

“We’ve been proactive on this because we were and continue to be very worried about the vulnerability and the infiltration of organised crime into sport,” Demetriou told ABC radio.

He said the state governments had been supportive of the AFL’s concerns, but he wanted to take up the issue with the new federal government.

“Hopefully we can take this up with the new government once there’s an attorney-general in place,” he said

In February, Australia’s peak crime-fighting body alleged there was widespread use of drugs and organised crime involvement in professional sport. The Australian Crime Commission’s investigation found links with crime groups may have led to match-fixing and manipulation of betting markets.

Meanwhile in AFL semi-finals action over the weekend, a phlegmatic Sydney side marched into a preliminary final showdown with Fremantle after downing Carlton by 24 points on Saturday night.

The Swans beat the Blues 13.8 (86) to 8.14 (62) at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney to book a clash against the Dockers next Saturday in Perth.

On Friday, a courageous Port Adelaide side gave it their all but Geelong’s finals experience proved the difference as the Cats claimed a 16-point victory at the MCG.

Geelong’s 13.18 (96) to 12.8 (80) win sets up a mouth-watering preliminary final next Friday night against arch rivals Hawthorn, who have lost their past 11 clashes with the Cats since the 2008 grand final.

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