Six people have been arrested in a match fixing scandal that is rocking the English football world. A thorough investigation is being conducted by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA).
Former Portsmouth and Nigeria defender Sam Sodje, made claims to an undercover investigator for The Sun on Sunday that he could fix Premier League games and added he was capable of rigging matches at next year’s World Cup. Sodje, 34, reportedly told the Sun newspaper that he was capable of arranging red cards, yellow cards and other actions that gambler commonly bet on during a soccer match. Sodje also claimed to have been purposely ejected in a game last season in exchange for $110,000.
”An active NCA investigation is now underway and we are working closely with the Football Association and the Gambling Commission,” the NCA said in a statement.
Last month, several arrests were made in a similar investigation that was looking into an global gambling syndicate that allegedly fixed English soccer matches. Two players were charged this week with conspiring to fix matches. Michael Boateng and Hakeem Adelakun, who both play for Conference South team Whitehawk FC, were charged with conspiracy to defraud and are scheduled to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
In recent years, it seems that gambling on soccer in the UK has grown significantly. Those trying to fix the games are focusing in on lower tier players to avoid visibility. Online betting has really increased the interest in involving players, as there are now more opportunities for things to bet on. Everything from yellow and red cards to substitutions.
Former Premier League striker DJ Campbell was one of the six men arrested and questioned in the NCA’s most recent investigation. Campbell’s involvement is probably the most stunning as he once was a stand out star for Blackpool, Birmingham and QPR in the PL. He currently plays for the Blackburn Rovers.
Though no Premier League players have been implicated, these most recent arrests shows that authorities are serious about getting rid of all player involvement in gambling. Match fixing will obviously not be tolerated and if it is occurring in English football’s higher levels, expect action to be taken there as well.