Officers from the UK's National Crime Agency have arrested six men in the frame of an investigation dealing with alleged English football match fixing. According to the NCA, the arrests are linked to an investigation dealing with a suspected international illegal betting syndicate.
The arrests came after UK newspaper The Telegraph carried out its own investigation on match fixers from Asia who were targeting English football. One international match fixer was arrested on his arrival to the UK last week. Covertly taped, the man talked of lower league matches which could be fixed for sums going for as little as £50k. The man correctly predicted the outcomes of three games played by the same team.
Football Association Criticism
The arrests come just a month following the criticism that was unleashed on the UK Football Association which failed to question three non-league clubs about suspicious betting patterns on matches last season. Perhaps the arrests are linked to the criticism the FA endured, as the association released a statement saying: "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."
In November the FA was criticized by a Europol senior official Nick Garlic who said he believes match fixers were working in Britain. It remains to be seen just how deep this affair runs in English football. Whatever happens, the FA is going to have to work to rehabilitate its integrity which it so fiercely defends.