A former Premier League player is among six people arrested as part of a match fixing scandal in the UK. Delroy Facey, a journeyman pro who played over 450 games, including two years with Bolton in the top echelon, as well as Bradford, Burnley and West Bromwich Albion and a host of other sides further down the leagues, is allegedly part of a betting ring who rigged matches in the Football Conference, the fifth tier of professional football in England. He now acts as a players’ agent.
The National Crime Agency, who has been working in association with the Football Association and the Gambling Commission, has said that at least three of the six arrested are professional footballers.
The betting syndicate, believed to be operating out of Asia, is thought to have been attempting to influence the results of games right across Britain. While it is believed that no Premier League or Championship games have been targeted, recent cases in other countries such as Spain, Italy and Australia have shown that matches at the highest level are not necessarily immune.
When a known match fixer from Singapore arrived in the UK, a national newspaper secretly recorded conversations with him in a sting operation in Manchester, in which he claimed that matches in the lower leagues of English football could be fixed for as little as NZD$100,000 and that huge amounts of money could be made by betting on these games on unregulated Asian sports betting websites. He was able correctly to predict the outcome of forthcoming games as a means of substantiating his claims.
In addition, the man also claimed to be able to influence the results of games in other European countries through his control both of teams and referees. He said that the ring aimed to manipulate both half-time and full-time scores, to enable gamblers more opportunities to maximise their profits. Some players were, he said, paid up to NZD$10,000 to receive a yellow card early in the game as a signal to those in the know that the result of the match has been successfully ‘fixed’. Players in lower leagues were targeted because they were not paid as highly as their counterparts at the top of the profession, making them more vulnerable to bribery.
The men who have been arrested are believed to have been charged under bribery and fraud laws, and are currently being held at a police station on the Midlands. It is thought that at present, investigations are being undertaken into match fixing in over 60 countries around the world.