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Soccer: Four Central Asian players get life bans for match-fixing

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(Reuters) – Four Central Asian players have been slapped with life bans for match-fixing during the Asian Football Cup (AFC) tournaments in 2017 and 2018, the continent’s soccer governing body said on Friday.

The Asian Football Confederation said on Friday three Kyrgyz players and one Tajik had been “found guilty of being involved in a conspiracy to manipulate match(es)” involving their clubs.

Kyrgyz national Kursanbek Sheratov was found guilty of supporting betting activity in connection with match involving Kyrgyz club Dordoi FC at the 2017 tournament.

Kyrgyz players Iliaz Alimov and Abduaziz Mahkamov conspired to fix matches involving their club FC Alay in the 2017 “and/or 2018 season of the AFC Cup,” the governing body said in a statement.

A third player from the Kyrgyz club Alay, Tajik national Abduaziz Mahkamov, was also guilty of fixing matches in the 2017 and 2018 AFC Cups.

The annual Asian Football Cup is the continent’s second-tier club competition for emerging nations behind the premier Asian Champions League.

Asian soccer has long been riddled with corruption, particularly at lower levels, with players and officials regularly banned for match-fixing.

Six people, including a former referee and members of Indonesia’s national soccer association, were given jail sentences earlier this month in connection with a 2018 game in the nation’s third-tier league.

The AFC said separately Turkmenistan forward Muhadov Suleyman had been banned for four years for a doping violation after undertaking testing at the Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year.

The AFC did not provide further details.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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