LONDON: Blackburn striker DJ Campbell has been arrested as part of a football spot-fixing investigation, his club have confirmed.
The 32-year-old is one of six people detained in an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) after it acted on information passed to it by the Sun on Sunday newspaper.
In a statement, Blackburn said: “Following reports in today’s national media, Blackburn Rovers can confirm that striker DJ Campbell has been arrested. “The club will be making no further comment on what is now an ongoing legal matter.”
The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) said: “These allegations, if proven, unfortunately demonstrate the real issue football faces in terms of corruption and highlights the necessity of the work carried out by the PFA and other stakeholders in the game in educating players of these risks.
“We take the issue of integrity very seriously and will continue in our efforts to eradicate this evil from our game.
“In terms of these specific reports, due to the ongoing investigation by the National Crime Agency, we are unable to comment further at this time.”
The arrests came after ex-Portsmouth player Sam Sodje was filmed secretly by an undercover reporter from the newspaper, describing how he was paid £70,000 to incur a red card in a League One [third division] game.
The incident occurred during a match against Oldham last season, when in an apparently unprovoked outburst, Sodje twice lashed out at another player, and was sent off in the 50th minute of the match.
The 34-year-old was also filmed saying that he had arranged for another player to be paid £30,000 for getting a yellow card in a Championship match.
The former Nigerian international bragged that he could rig Premier League matches for betting fraudsters and was prepared to fix matches at next year’s World Cup. He claimed he could set up a bet an entire week before a game saying it was “easy.”
Portsmouth spokesman Colin Farmery said: “If these serious allegations are true then we are extremely shocked and saddened by them, as match-fixing of any type goes to the heart of the integrity of the game.
“The player in question no longer plays for the club and we have not been contacted by the authorities, but of course we would co-operate fully with any inquiry.”
Sodje’s brother Akpo, a striker at Tranmere Rovers, had also said he would be prepared to be paid to be booked.
Tranmere Rovers said: “Tranmere Rovers Football Club are aware of Sunday newspaper allegations regarding Akpo Sodje. As this is an ongoing investigation the club will make no further comment at this time.”
The Sun on Sunday also reported that Oldham player, Cristian Montano, apologised to Sodje after failing to incur a yellow card in the first half of a match against Wolves on October 22.
Oldham Athletic reacted to the allegations in a statement saying: “Oldham Athletic Football Club has been made aware of the incident and allegation surrounding one of its players, Cristian Montano. The club will commence an immediate internal investigation to establish all the relevant facts of the case.
“The club is co-operating with other agencies in this matter and cannot comment on specific facts at this stage. The club will not be issuing any further statements at this time.”
The National Crime Agency, which is investigating the claims, said: “An active investigation is now under way and we are working closely with the Football Association and the Gambling Commission.”
This is the second NCA investigation into alleged international betting syndicate. Earlier this week, non-league footballers Michael Boateng and Hakeem Adelakun who play for Whitehawk FC were charged with conspiracy to defraud.