More footballers arrested in fixing probe

The National Crime Agency’s investigation into spot-fixing in UK football has stepped up a level with the agency arresting 13 footballers this week. Six of the men were originally arrested back in December in connection with an investigation into individuals suspected of Conspiracy to commit acts of Bribery and Money Laundering relating to conduct during football matches. They were interviewed and bailed to return on 8th April pending further inquiries.

A statement from the NCA reads: “Officers from the NCA have been actively pursuing a number of lines of inquiry in this ongoing investigation.

“The NCA have re-arrested the six original suspects based upon new evidence, along with a further seven footballers aged between 18 and 30 suspected of potential involvement in these offences. The seven men arrested in addition to the original six are from Football League clubs based in the North West of England. All 13 individuals are being interviewed at police stations across the country.”

The only player confirmed at the moment is Birmingham City’s DJ Campbell although Preston North End, currently in the play-off places in League 1, have been moved to issue this statement: “In response to media enquiries received, Preston North End Football Club can confirm that today, 3rd April 2014, the Club has been contacted by the National Crime Agency in relation to a wide ranging investigation into ‘spot fixing’ in football.

There are no suggestions that any offences that might have occurred involved match fixing. None of our employees have been charged with any offence at this time and until or unless this position changes we will be taking no further action nor making any further comment.”

As with so many investigations into corruption in sport, this one originated from a sting operation by a newspaper – The Sun on Sunday – which reported claims by the former Portsmouth player Sam Sodje, who allegedly said he could arrange for footballers in the Championship to get themselves a yellow card in return for tens of thousands of pounds.

What wasn’t made clear is how the people who would apparently pay this money would benefit, given the unlikely possibility of being able to make that kind of money back from the yellow card markets, particularly in the UK.
Football integrity is one of the issues that will be debated at the Betting on Football Conference, which is being held on 8 May at Stamford Bridge.
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