Three players arrested in Australia on suspicion of betting corruption

The players were not identified by Australian authorities, but they play in the country's top division.

Three players arrested in Australia on suspicion of betting corruption
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Australian police arrested three players this Friday who were not identified but play in the country's top division on suspicion of sports betting corruption, after they allegedly manipulated the awarding of yellow cards in matches.

According to the BBC, police in the Australian state of New South Wales accuse a 33-year-old player of receiving instructions from a “figure of organized crime,” who is hiding in South America, to plan the awarding of yellow cards in exchange for money.

This situation is said to have occurred between November 24 and December 9, 2023, involving three players one of whom has not yet been arrested who are part of a club in southern Sydney.

The revelation of this information prompted an almost immediate reaction from Macarthur FC, a club based in that region and competing in the A-League, which stated it was "shocked and aware" of the ongoing arrests. "The integrity of our sport is a pillar of our foundation, and we will work closely with all relevant agencies on this matter," they emphasized in a statement.

The A-League has also reacted to the incident, suspending the players in question and emphasizing its close cooperation with the authorities. The league underscored its commitment to maintaining the integrity of the sport and ensuring that any form of corruption is dealt with swiftly and transparently.

At this stage of the process, a 33-year-old player has been charged with four crimes of betting corruption and one of participating in organized criminal activity. He is required to appear in court on June 24, after being released on bail.

At the same time, a 27-year-old player and a 32-year-old player were charged with one count of corruption and one count of organized criminal activity, with their respective court trials scheduled for June 27 and May 30, respectively.

It is suspected that a senior player paid younger players amounts up to 10,000 Australian dollars (equivalent to 6,140 euros) to intentionally receive yellow cards in official matches. This method of match-fixing, focused on specific in-game actions like yellow cards, is particularly difficult to detect and underscores the sophisticated nature of the corruption.

The scandal has sent shockwaves through the Australian football community, with fans and officials expressing their dismay at the allegations. The New South Wales police have reiterated their commitment to rooting out corruption in sports and are continuing their investigation to ensure that all individuals involved are held accountable.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has also issued a statement condemning the alleged actions and pledging to support the ongoing investigation. The FFA stressed the importance of maintaining the sport's integrity and promised to implement additional measures to prevent such incidents in the future.

As the investigation continues, there is a growing focus on the broader implications for the sport. Authorities and football governing bodies are likely to review current protocols and consider new strategies to combat corruption and ensure that the sport remains fair and transparent.

The players involved, if found guilty, could face severe penalties, including lengthy bans from the sport, substantial fines, and potential jail time. The case serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges in maintaining the integrity of sports and the continuous efforts required to combat corruption.