A 21-year-old Maltese man who was fined €50,000 for match-fixing will have his case appealed after a magistrate failed to impose a recent law dictating that the individual should receive a jail sentence.
Rudgear Scerri, who was a committee member of Attard FC, was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for four, after pleading guilty to the charges.
In making its decision, Magistrate Charmaine Galea took into account the early guilty plea from the accused, his clean criminal record and his own admission that his actions caused disrepute to the game.
However, the decision was seen as undermining the work of the Malta Football Association in combating match-fixing.
Lovin Malta is now informed that Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg has appealed the case and the decision is expected to be overturned into a harsher sentence.
According to the Attorney General’s interpretation of a 2018 legislation on the prevention of match-fixing, Scerri should have at least spent time behind bars.
Scerri was charged under articles four and five of the Prevention Of Corruption In Sports Act, which states that the offender should be subject to a prison term of no more than three and one years respectively.
However, neither article four or five make reference to a minimum sentence period.
Scerri will also receive further sanctions from sporting authorities following the conclusion of an investigation into his case.
Meanwhile, both Attard FC and the MFA immediately severed ties with Scerri and suspended him from any football activity.
Although Attard FC wasn’t not directly implicated in the match-fixing attempts, the club received a €1,000 fine along with a five-year suspension from international competitions and a nine-point penalty for breaching regulations of bribery and betting.
In order to curtail attempts at foul play in sports, the Malta Football Players Association, in tandem with local police and the MFA, has launched a ‘Red Button’ app to encourage players to anonymously report a match-fixing approach or attempt.
The app provides players with a mechanism to report match-fixing whilst preserving their anonymity.
MFPA members can request a unique code that allows them to access the web-based app and file a report.
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