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As expected, the publication, on April 28th, of the book 'Kelong Kings' by Wilson Raj Perumal and ourselves raised a row of polemics and finger-pointing in the Sports world. We were threatened with legal action, accused of following some unspecified hidden agenda or of being liars tout-court. But that's not all; Wilson's most recent run-in with the law in Finland amplified media attention on his case and placed him under the spotlight as the person who holds the key to almost two decades of match-fixing worldwide.

Firstly, we wish to spend a few words on Wilson's present situation. He has been arrested in Helsinki, Finland, in mid-April while traveling without a proper ID and on the basis of an Interpol arrest warrant issued by Singapore four years earlier. Contrary to some media claims, Wilson had been living freely in Budapest for the past two years under a witness protection program. During said time, he has formed a family and is now the proud father of two newborn twin babies. Wilson had already traveled by airplane to Norway and to France before his arrest; nobody had bothered to honor Singapore's international arrest warrant until he set foot in Finland in mid-April.

By now, Wilson Raj Perumal has been sitting behind bars for over a month while Finnish authorities debate whether to extradite/deport him to Singapore (despite the fact that the Lion City has dropped its Red Notice) or send him back to Hungary, where he is due to testify in a trial in September this year. During his stay, Wilson has met with Australian authorities who questioned him on the 'Southern Stars' case.

About Wilson's international arrest warrant:

In May 2009, Wilson Raj Perumal was involved in an altercation with a CISCO private security guard in service at the Singapore Changi airport; after a brief discussion, Wilson pushed the security guard aside, entered his vehicle and drove away as the security guard tried to stop him by brushing up against the moving vehicle. The guard then called the police and reported the incident and Wilson was charged with assault.

In early 2010, a Singapore court sentenced Wilson to five years of Corrective Training for the incident. Wilson's long list of antecedents is hardly a valid justification for the disproportionate sentence that he was handed. The Medical Report that the security guard underwent after the incident clearly states that he was immediately discharged without medication and given a two-day medical leave for a “right knee contusion” caused by “the side of the car brushing against the outside of his knee”.

The disproportionate nature of Wilson's sentence should be reason enough for any European country to oppose an extradition request by Singapore and to refrain from deporting Wilson to the Lion City. But if that's not enough, the fate of his former associates should also be considered. Tan Seet Eng, Anthony Santia Raj and many others are currently detained indefinitely in a Singaporean prison without any representation, an instrument granted to courts in Singapore by the medieval “Section 55”.

So what to do?

The fact that Wilson has already collaborated with prosecutions in Finland, Germany, Italy, Hungary and Australia should be proof enough of his 'practical utility' in fighting international match-fixing. Wilson is called to appear in a Hungarian court in June this year as a witness, not as an accused. Sending Wilson forcibly back to serve his sentence in Singapore, besides being a gross violation of his civil rights, would also result in a missed opportunity for a number of prosecutions around the globe, for FIFA itself and for millions of football fans and legal gamblers who are waiting to know whether the joke was on them.

FIFA, Nigeria and the others...

In our book, Kelong Kings, Wilson makes a number of revelations that have triggered much alarm within FIFA, Football Federations and Associations. After reading Wilson's account, FIFA's supposed match-fixing watchdogs have promised to start a number of investigations into the corruption of national Football Federations and into the distorted results of the qualification rounds that led to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Up to this day, however, none of us – including Wilson – have received so much as an e-mail or a telephone call from FIFA to ask about the World Cup qualifiers of Nigeria, Honduras, or the official FIFA qualifiers involving the USA, Ghana, Ivory Coast, etc. We understand from reports that the Nigerian Football Federation has had to provide a video recording of its last 2010 World Cup qualifying match against Kenya. We are surprised to hear that the all-powerful FIFA could not fetch a copy on its own (highlights are on youtube).

The World Cup is nearing and the media circus is on stage; every day Football's governing bodies vow to fight the scourge of corruption and the “professionals” of the struggle against match-fixing have already sprung into action. By 'professionals', we mean people who travel the globe speaking out in conferences and presentations organized by dubious Qatar-based organizations for the supposed safekeeping of sports integrity (you know who you are) and who don't understand a basic truth about match-fixing: it needs legal betting channels for its punting, not illegal ones. None of these self-proclaimed 'professionals' on the subject of match-fixing were able to break the story before the publication of Kelong Kings by ourselves.

We are currently sitting in front of our computers, our mobile phones flat on our desks, waiting for FIFA's head of security Ralf Mutschke to take the first step and dial our number or send us an e-mail: Wilson Raj Perumal has expressed his willingness to collaborate with FIFA and reveal what he knows... but maybe, just maybe, FIFA would rather speak with the 'professionals'; after all, it is easier for FIFA to turn a blind eye to it all and 'hope' that Wilson will be deported to Singapore, where his mouth can be sealed shut for years without so much as a lawyer or a trial. All the corrupt officials, referees and players who are out there purportedly taking care of the beautiful game will be more than grateful. Panem et circenses, “bread and games”; as the Romans put it; these two can be a powerful tool to appease, divert and distract.

- Invisible Dog