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Footballers arrested after betting probe

Written by on May 17, 2024

A group of professional soccer players in Australia’s top flight have been arrested for alleged betting corruption.

In a statement released Friday, NSW Police say three A-League players have been arrested.

The NSW Organised Crime Squad led the investigation.

The players are connected to Sydney club Macarthur FC, NewsWire understands.

Police say a senior player was allegedly taking instructions from a man – believed to be offshore in South America – to organise for yellow cards to occur during certain games in exchange for profit.

Men aged 27, 32 and 33 are expected to be charged after 6am raids at houses in South Coogee, Parramatta, West Hoxton, and Emu Plains were carried out Friday morning.

The arrests were made as part of an investigation into alleged betting corruption under Strike Force Beaconview, it says in the statement.

The police strike force was set up in December 2023, assisted by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, to investigate alleged yellow card manipulation by players attached to a southwestern Sydney football club.

The 27 and 32-year-old men are expected to be charged with engage in conduct that corrupts a betting outcome of an event.

The 33-year-old is likely to face two charges of facilitates conduct that corrupts a betting outcome of an event.

The number of yellow cards were allegedly manipulated during games played on Friday November 24, 2023 and Saturday, December 9, 2023.

Failed attempts were then allegedly made to control the number of yellow cards during games on Saturday, April 20, 2024 and Saturday, May 4, 2024.

A Football Australia spokesperson said the players were expected in court on Friday afternoon.

“Football Australia is fully co-operating with the Organised Crime Squad, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Sport Integrity Australia and the NSW Crime Commission in this matter,” the spokesperson said.

“Football Australia will provide no further comments at this stage as the investigation is ongoing.”

Assistant Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald and Detective Superintendent Peter Faux are expected to speak to media later Friday morning.

A-League governing body, the Australian Professional Leagues, said the integrity of the game must be protected.

“The work to protect the integrity of our game must be unwavering and we are liaising closely with all relevant agencies on this matter. Given the ongoing nature of the investigation and police enquiries we are unable to comment further at this time,” the APL said in a statement.

Second-leg matches of the A-League semi-finals are happening on Saturday; Macarthur FC did not make it to this late stage in the competition.

More to come