LONDON: Two men have been charged as part of an investigation into alleged football match-fixing in the English lower leagues.
The National Crime Agency said the Crown Prosecution Service’s Organised Crime Division is satisfied it is in the public interest to authorise charges of conspiracy to defraud. Conviction can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in jail.
Chann Sankaran, a 33-year-old Singapore national, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, a 43-year-old with dual UK and Singapore nationality, have been remanded in custody and will appear at Cannock Magistrates’ Court, north of Birmingham.
The NCA said the men, who are alleged to be members of an international illegal betting syndicate based in Singapore, are among six people arrested earlier this week as part of an NCA investigation.
A seventh man has since been arrested and he and four others were bailed today pending further inquiries.
The charges allege that between November 1 and November 26, “at City of Manchester and elsewhere, the two men conspired together with each other and others to defraud bookmakers by influencing the course of football matches and placing bets thereon”.
A former Premier League footballer is among the six people held as part of the investigation. The other suspects are reported to include three current footballers.
Delroy Facey, 33, did not turn up to play for his club Albion Sports as scheduled against Athersley Recreation in the NCEL Premier League last night, according to the club’s secretary Jaj Singh.
Singh said: “He was due to come but didn’t turn up. He was named on the sub’s bench but was a no show. I have no idea. He’s been with us about three months and is a cracking lad.”
Facey scored two in an 8-1 win over Armthorpe Welfare on Saturday and has scored six goals for Albion Sports this season.
The arrests were made following an investigation by the Daily Telegraph during which undercover reporters discussed the possibility of influencing the scores and outcomes of lower-league English games for as little as £50,000.
It is not believed that any Premier League sides are involved in the allegations.
A Football Association spokesman said: “The FA has been made aware of a number of arrests in relation to an NCA investigation.
“We have worked closely with the authorities in relation to these allegations. The FA will make no further comment at this time due to ongoing investigations.”