UK & World News

  • 19 May 2014, 16:33

Footballers 'Willing Recruits' In Match-Fixing

Three former footballers and two other men have gone on trial accused of match-fixing to "engineer a result" to be used in betting in the Far East.

Opening the case at Birmingham Crown Court, Robert Davies said that defendants Krishna Ganeshan and Chann Sankaran were "central figures" who came to the UK with a "plan" to find lower league players to take a bribe to "throw matches".

He said the pair found "willing recruits" in Hakeem Adelakun, Michael Boateng and Moses Swaibu, who played in the Conference North and South Divisions, which are one level below the Conference Premier League.

Mr Davies said it was a "Goldilocks situation" where the pair wanted to use the "minimum level of bribe for the maximum return".

He said the players were paid "a lot less" than those in the Premier League, and there was "far less scrutiny" in the lower leagues.

He told the jury that the motivation was to "engineer a result" to be used in betting in the Far East, for example, Singapore, where betting on the lower leagues is popular.

Mr Davies said "odds are odds" whether it is Barcelona, Manchester United, or lower leagues "it doesn't matter".

The court heard that in November 2013 Ganeshan and Sankaran became the focus of a Daily Telegraph investigation, which later involved the National Crime Agency.

The prosecution claims that Sankaran and Ganeshan requested and accepted 60,000 euros (£48,897) from Telegraph investigators operating under false names who were looking into corruption in football.

It is alleged Boateng and Adelakun received "financial advantage", including 450 euros†(£366) in cash from the pair, and Swaibu received £3,000 to "perform their function or activity as professional footballers improperly".

All five deny bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery. The trial is expected to last up to five weeks.

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