Australia suspend individuals charged in fixing scandal

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Four players and a coach facing criminal charges related to match-fixing in Australia's second tier Victorian Premier League have been suspended from all soccer activities, the country's governing body said on Friday.

The multi-million dollar racket, which had links with betting syndicates in Malaysia and Hungary, was smashed by the Australian police, who acted on information provided by the Football Federation of Australia (FFA).

The FFA has suspended the five Southern Stars individuals under its National Code of Conduct for bringing the game into disrepute.

"FFA has determined that as the four players and coach are facing serious criminal charges... they have breached the obligation in the Code to not bring FFA or the game of football into disrepute," it said in a statement.

The FFA has also written to world governing body FIFA to extend the bans on the individuals worldwide.

"This request is currently with FIFA," the FFA added.

The case had sent shockwaves across sports-obsessed Australia, where rival football codes have already been rocked by anti-doping investigations involving players, coaches and officials in recent months.

(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien)

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