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Six Arrested For English Football Match-Fixing

Thu 28th Nov 2013 | Money & Finance

Six men have been arrested on suspicion of match-fixing in English football following an investigation by the Telegraph newspaper.

The men, thought to be part of an illegal betting syndicate, have been held by officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) held over the past two days. They are thought to include at least three footballers and Delroy Facey, a player-turned-agent who has played in the Premier League.

The arrests have been made in the wake of an investigation by The Telegraph that found match fixers from Asia were targeting games across Britain, but it is understood that the games did not include those from the Football League or Premier League. However, the identities of the teams involved have not been disclosed for legal reasons, as the police operation is understood to remain active.

A spokesperson for the NCA said last night, “Six men have been arrested across the country as part of an NCA investigation into alleged football match fixing. The focus of the operation is a suspected international illegal betting syndicate. The NCA is working closely with the Gambling Commission and the Football Association.”

Declan Hill, author of ‘The Fix’ and a leading authority on match-fixing and corruption told fcbusiness back in January 2012 that a ‘perfect storm’ was brewing fuelling match-fixing across the world.

“There has always been corruption in sport. However, what we have seen over the past couple of decades is perfect storm of varying economic conditions, the vast improvement of technology and the globalisation and accessibility of all market areas of the game.”

When asked if there was the possibility of match-fixing taking place in the UK, Hill said it would be naïve to think the UK is immune, “There are positives for UK associations in that the fixers will go where it’s easier to manipulate a match. However, to say they are not looking at the English market is totally naïve. It is the biggest football market in the world after all!” (Read the full interview HERE from page 9)

Following the news of the arrests Football League Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey said: "We understand from media reports that there is an ongoing Police investigation into alleged match fixing in domestic football. 

"To date, we have had no contact from the Police regarding this matter. 

"The threat of corruption is something that The Football League and the other football authorities treat with the utmost seriousness. The integrity of our matches and our competitions is the bedrock of the domestic game."

A statement from the FA, read, “The FA has been made aware of a number of arrests in relation to an NCA (National Crime Agency) investigation. We have worked closely with the authorities in relation to these allegations. The FA will make no further comment at this time due to ongoing investigations.”

Thomas Barnard, solicitor and sports specialist at leading law firm Thomas Eggar LLP, commented:

“It is believed the men have been arrested under the Bribery Act 2012 and Fraud Act 2006.  The Fraud Act usually applies to illegal betting activity since that activity knowingly exposes bookmakers to a risk of sustaining a loss.  Similarly, the Bribery Act makes it an offence to make payment in order to bring about the improper performance of one's activity.  It is alleged that payments of up to £70,000 were made to players in order to affect the outcome of matches.

“The Football Association is understood to be assisting the NCA but does have its own comprehensive code of conduct applicable to clubs and players.  It is not unusual for the FA to conduct its own inquiries alongside criminal investigations, although The FA is yet to say whether it will be conducting its own investigations into the circumstances behind the arrests.  The applicability of the FA's code will not be known until such time as details of the individuals arrested - and the clubs involved - are known.

“All sporting activity is at risk of illegal betting and match fixing activity and unfortunately this is inevitable when the criminal gains are considerable.  Sports governing bodies are aware of the risk that match fixing poses. In fact, the NCA's arrests come just 10 days after a summit, hosted by Sport England and attended by the Gambling Commission and other authorities, which examined ways in which organisations are combating such activity.

“Although the arrests are alarming in that they demonstrate that match fixing is an issue for the nation's favourite sport, they do demonstrate that governing bodies and the authorities are actively looking to clamp down on match rigging.”

Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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