Thu, May 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

CTFA, White slam ‘Next Magazine’ over fraud claims

ERRORS:Chen Wei-jen vowed to sue the magazine and the story’s author for libel. Coach Gary White said the accusations of match-fixing were intolerable

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) secretary-general Chen Wei-jen, center front, national coach Gary White, right, and national team members take part in a news conference in Taipei yesterday to refute Next Magazine’s accusations that the CTFA forged the score of a 2016 friendly against Guam.

Photo: Lin Yueh-fu, Taipei Times

Taiwan soccer officials and national squad’s English head coach Gary White yesterday sharply criticized Chinese-language Next Magazine, calling a three-part feature published on Tuesday about the alleged falsifying of a 2016 match result and resulting FIFA investigation as groundless accusations.

The Next report was “an absolute disgrace,” as there is basis to the accusations, which are unfair to the players who have worked very hard to improve Taiwan’s world ranking, White said at a news conference in Taipei.

Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) secretary-general Chen Wei-jen (陳威仁) said the story contained untrue information, and vowed to sue the online magazine and the author of the story for libel.

Citing information from soccer insiders and others, the article alleged that CTFA officials and coaches on both sides contrived to forge the match report for an international friendly against Guam on March 19, 2016, to show a 2-2 draw, when the actual score was a 3-2 win for Taiwan.

White was coaching the Guam team at the time.

The two teams had colluded to play for a draw so they could gain points for their international ranking, the article said.

It also said a three-person FIFA and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) delegation that visited Taiwan last month to assess the CTFA election had also been asked to investigate the fraudulent match report.

The author also said that CFTA and White had squandered most of the government’s NT$20 million (US$668,271 at the current exchange rate) budget for soccer development last year with very little results to show for it.

White had sought to earn points by beating weak teams from lower-ranked Asian nations, the article said.

Many Team Taiwan players showed up at the news conference, standing behind White and Chen in a show of support.

Chen and White said the article was completely wrong.

The CTFA boss presented copies of the official game report for the Guam match filed with FIFA and the AFC and other documents to support their position.

Chen also showed reporters a correspondent from in instant message app he had with FIFA officials, who said last month’s trip had been purely for the CTFA election and had nothing to do with the March 19, 2016, match report.

The official match documents showed the final score as 3-2 for Taiwan, Chen said, which meant there was no fraud.

White said he could not tolerate the accusation he had colluded to get a draw in the 2016 game.

“This is a very serious charge. It amounts to accusing people of manipulating the match result. It is an attack on the personal integrity of the coaches and players,” he said.

As for the allegations about wasting the government’s money, the budget for soccer development is actually very small for the nation the size of Taiwan, it is less than countries that have a lower ranking than Taiwan, and also less than some countries who rank ahead of Taiwan, he said.

His aim in working with Taiwanese soccer players had always been to make progress, to improve the team from where it was when he took it over, White said.

Players must have “soul” to play on the team, he said.

That meant S for sacrifice; O for ownership, taking responsibility, U for unity and playing as a team; and L for legacy, to leave a legacy for future generation of fans and players, he said.

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