Footballer Seyble Zammit admits match-fixing but exempted from punishment

Zammit admitted to having been offered €5,000 for his assistance and that he had tried to recruit other players, but they had refused

Seyble Zammit
Seyble Zammit

Footballer Seyble Zammit, a former youth player for Valletta FC, has admitted to having organised the rigging of an away Malta U-21 match against Montenegro, but has been exempted from punishment for having collaborated with the police.

The footballer testified in private this morning, as magistrate Saviour Demicoli started hearing evidence in the corruption case against the sportsman.

It is understood that his testimony will be invaluable as evidence against other members of the match-fixing cabal.

Zammit, 21, the son of former Malta national squad and Valletta FC midfielder, and Mosta FC coach Ivan Zammit ‘is-Sei’, has been in police custody since his arrest on 29 March, having been denied bail on charges of involvement in an attempt to fix the UEFA Championship U-21 qualifier between Malta and Montenegro.

Zammit was not a player in the Malta-Montenegro match. He remained in police custody after being charged with having initiated a match-fixing offer and then proposed it to other footballers.

This morning, Police Inspector Sean Scicluna testified to having received information that aside from the Montenegro match, another one against the Czech republic was also agreed to have been fixed.

A search warrant was executed and the several call profiles were requested. The accused was arrested and had asked to speak to lawyer and Labour MP Luciano Busuttil before being questioned.

Busuttil is also chairperson of the Malta Sports Council. When contacted by MaltaToday, Busuttil said that he had refused to serve as Zammit’s lawyer as his position on the council would have placed him in a conflict of interest.

However, he said that he had given him free “legal advice” that he refused to disclose as he is “bound by professional secrecy.”

“Zammit had called me up while he was under arrest, and I felt at the time that it was right to help him,” I said. “ However, I made it clear that I couldn’t appear for him in court due to my position as chairperson of the sports council. I live according to a code of ethics.”

During police interrogations, the inspector claimed that Zammit had admitted to having been offered €5,000 for his assistance. He added that he had tried to recruit other players, but they had refused.

The officer testified that the accused had explained that a “foreign person” had come to Malta to fix the match. If he failed, he would have had to pay a sum.

Lawyers Marion Camilleri and Mario Mifsud were defence counsel.