LONDON (AP) — Three people have been arrested after a second investigation into football match-fixing was launched following reports that a player agreed to rig a game in the second-tier of English football in return for cash.
Britain's National Crime Agency confirmed on Sunday it was examining the allegations after receiving information from The Sun On Sunday. The newspaper said an undercover reporter met one player who claimed another agreed to deliberately earn a booking in a recent second-tier Championship match in return for a £30,000 payout.
"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. "Three people are in custody and are being questioned by NCA officers. We cannot comment further at this stage."
According to the newspaper, the footballer, identified as former Portsmouth and Nigeria defender Sam Sodje, also claimed he could fix Premier League games and added he was capable of rigging matches at next year's World Cup.
Sodje, who presents himself as a fixer, also told the reporter that he was once sent off on purpose for a fee of £70,000. "We treat any allegations of criminal activity in our competitions with the utmost seriousness," Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey said. "Given that there is an ongoing police investigation into this matter, we cannot comment further at this time. Although, we would encourage anyone with any evidence to report it to the police. We will be giving our full assistance to the police during their investigation."
The FA and the Gambling Commission confirmed they are working with the NCA and other authorities on the investigation. Last month, police made several arrests as part of an investigation into a suspected international betting syndicate that allegedly fixed English football matches. Two players from the sixth tier of English football 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 set to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
They were the third and fourth men to be charged in the wake of an undercover operation by Britain's Daily Telegraph, with Chann Sankaran and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan also scheduled to appear at Birmingham Crown Court.