Saturday 20 January 2018

Alleged match-fixer claims he tampered with games in Ireland

Six suspects have been held in an English match fixing probe
Six suspects have been held in an English match fixing probe

Claire Newell, Holly Watt and Ben Bryant

An alleged match-fixer has claimed he could fix games in Ireland and World Cup qualification games.

The alleged fixer arrested earlier this week claimed he fixed World Cup games and matches in Europe and Australia.

During a secretly recorded meeting earlier this month, he said “I do Australia, Scotland. Ireland. Europe. World Cup. World Cup qualifier”.

An FAI spokesman said the association takes the issue of match-fixing very seriously and is in regular contact with Interpol, Europol and UEFA on the matter.

The FAI says nothing has been presented by the authorities in relation to the current investigation.

He claimed to control the entire team for one African country, which cannot be named for legal reasons.

It is understood that the National Crime Agency (NCA) which has launched an investigation into match fixing in Britain’s lower leagues is now co-operating with other international law enforcement agencies following this week’s arrests.

The Daily Telegraph was approached by an undercover investigator with links to Fifa, who had been gathering evidence against suspected Asian match fixers offering to operate in Britain.

During undercover meetings in Manchester earlier this month, the fixer told the former FIFA investigator that he could pay referees and players to manipulate the results of games.

However, during the course of the conversations about English matches, the fixer also said that he could rig matches “all over” the world, except in Singapore where the penalties are very high.

“I do Australia, Scotland. Ireland. Europe. World Cup. World Cup qualifier,” he said.

“What, the World Cup?”, asked the investigator.

“At least, at least 15,” the alleged fixer claimed. “I bought the match.”

The Singaporean national claimed that he controlled one African country’s “whole team”.

The fixer said that he worked closely with a registered Fifa agent, which meant he could organise matches throughout the world.

“He’s a very close friend”, explained the alleged fixer. “My boss is the one who asked him to spend the money to get the licence.”

The alleged fixer claimed to have set up international friendly matches. Some of these matches have already been the focus of concern amid allegations they were fixed.

In a series of covertly recorded conversations in this country, the alleged fixer was asked how the illicit trade worked.

Asked if the betting syndicate paid for the Fifa licence, the alleged fixer replied: “Yeah so he is very close with me… I'm [the] one who's sending money…he can organise any match around the world….that's the reason why I say I can organise any game any tournament…’Cause I use his licence I will ask him if ok he can arrange international friendly for this team before, usually before any world cup match or any tournament there will be friendly match, just a warm up match.”

In a later meeting, the fixer boasted about the teams he could use to control matches in Europe.

“I got team in Belgium. France as well I got,” said the alleged fixer.

“Good teams. Their country, most of these place their salaries are very low…Like Germany, the players, they pay high…France not so high. Very moderate. But Finland, Belgium, Sweden, all everybody all [earn] very less [sic]".

The NCA arrested seven men – including three footballers and Delroy Facey, a player–turned–agent who has played in the Premier League – who are suspected of involvement in an international betting syndicate.

Two men have been charged as part of the investigation.

The Crown Prosecution Service's organised crime division is satisfied it is in the public interest to authorise charges of conspiracy to defraud, an NCA spokesman said.

Chann Sankaran, a 33-year-old Singapore national, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, a 43-year-old with dual UK and Singapore nationality, have been remanded in custody and will appear at Cannock Magistrates' Court in Staffordshire on Friday.

The NCA said the men, who are alleged to be members of an international illegal betting syndicate based in Singapore, are among six people arrested earlier this week as part of an NCA investigation.

A seventh man has since been arrested and he and four others were bailed today pending further inquiries.

The charges allege that between November 1 and November 26, "at City of Manchester and elsewhere, the two men conspired together with each other and others to defraud bookmakers by influencing the course of football matches and placing bets thereon".

The maximum sentence for this offence is 10 years' imprisonment.

It emerged earlier that a former Premier League footballer is among the six people held as part of the investigation.

The suspects are reported to include three current footballers.

Delroy Facey, 33, did not turn up to play for his club Albion Sports as scheduled against Athersley Recreation in the NCEL Premier League last night, according to the club's secretary Jaj Singh.

Mr Singh said: "He was due to come but didn't turn up. He was named on the sub's bench but was a no show. I have no idea. He's been with us about three months and is a cracking lad."

Facey scored two in an 8-1 win over Armthorpe Welfare on Saturday and has scored six goals for Albion Sports this season.

The arrests were made following an investigation by the Daily Telegraph during which undercover reporters discussed the possibility of influencing the scores and outcomes of lower-league English games for as little as £50,000.

It is not believed that any Premier League sides are involved in the allegations.

A Football Association spokesman said: "The FA has been made aware of a number of arrests in relation to an NCA 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."

Telegraph.co.uk

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