10 arrested over soccer match fixing in Australia
Updated: 2013-09-16 11:30
CANBERRA - Ten people have been arrested in a multi-million dollar match-fixing scandal that has rocked Australian soccer, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported on Sunday.
Police in Victoria State made the arrests after executing search warrants, with all the players and staff arrested believed to be from bottom-placed Victorian Premier League club Southern Stars FC.
Police said many of the players arrested were from the United Kingdom and playing in Australia in their off-season.
They said they would be looking to prosecute members of an overseas syndicate, which is believed to have been operating throughout Europe.
AAP reported that the police operation began in August following information received from Football Federation Australia (FFA) about irregular betting patterns and unusual results.
There were estimated betting winnings in Australia and overseas of more than 2 million AU dollars ($1.84 million) identified in connection with the alleged match-fixing ring, police said.
Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton told AAP that it was the biggest case of alleged match-fixing in Australian sports history.
"This is the first case we've uncovered of this level of match-fixing in Australia," said Ashton, who warned that Australia was susceptible to international match fixing.
The Southern Stars have played 21 matches this season for 16 losses and four draws, only winning a 1-0 victory over top-placed club Northcote City last month.
Those arrested are expected to face match-fixing charges, which could result in a 10-year maximum penalty.
FFA CEO David Gallop welcomed the investigation relating to suspicious betting activities and the investigation by the Sports Integrity Intelligence Unit within the force.
"We provided information to Victoria Police within 24 hours of receiving an alert from our international betting integrity monitoring agents Sportradar, who then worked closely with the investigation team."
"The arrests today show that the integrity measures put in place by FFA are working to detect illegal betting activity," said Gallop.
"We're determined to keep football clean. Alongside other sports bodies in Australia and globally, we must eradicate corrupt behavior from sport," he said.
In addition to the criminal proceedings in Victoria, FFA will charge the people arrested Sunday under FFA's National Code of Conduct.
They will face a range of sanctions including life bans from football, which would apply worldwide.