English football match-fixing: Former Bolton striker Delroy Facey 'named' among six arrested by police over 'international illegal betting syndicate'

Three current players are among those held

Various reports have claimed that former Bolton Wanderers striker Delroy Facey is the former Premier League player involved in the match fixing allegations.

Six people have been arrested by police investigating a “suspected international illegal betting syndicate” involved in the fixing of English football games.

Along with the former Premier League player, three current players were among those detained.

A spokesman for the NCA said: "Six men have been arrested across the country as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into alleged football match fixing. The focus of the operation is a suspected international illegal betting syndicate.

"The NCA is working closely with the Gambling Commission and the Football Association. This is an active investigation and we are unable to provide further detail at this time."

Facey played just 14 games for Bolton during a time when they were a Premier League club. His spell at the Wanderers, for whom he scored two goals after joining in 2002, was one of 14 different clubs the striker played for over a 16-year career. Among the other sides were West Brom, Bradford, Burnley and Hull City. This month he has been playing for Albion Sports Football Club, a team in the Northern Counties East Football League. It's also reported that he has made moves towards becoming a football agent.

Former Bolton manager Sam Allardyce expressed his shock at Facey being linked with the allegations in an interview with the Daily Mail.

"I hope Delroy hasn’t got involved in something like this," said the current West Ham boss.

Delroy Facey pictured in 2012 playing for Hereford United


A Football Association spokesman said it was aware of a number of arrests and had been working “closely with the authorities in relation to these allegations”. 

Meanwhile, the Football Conference issued a statement on its official website this morning.

It said: "The Football Conference has become aware of a story published today concerning arrests being made over alleged match fixing.

"The Football Conference takes all matters relating to the integrity of the game very seriously but it cannot make any comment on today's story as it would be inappropriate to do so."

The men were held after an undercover investigation by The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

It filmed a meeting in Manchester with an alleged fixer from Singapore who claimed gamblers could make hundreds of thousands of pounds placing bets with companies in Asia. The man reportedly planned to target two matches this month.

Explaining how he would ensure players deliver a particular score line, he told an undercover reporter: "In England the cost is very high... usually for the players it is £70,000.

"So I talk to them. Double confirm. I also tell them, I tell ... this [is] what I want ... Because simple, I commit myself and they commit. So you tell me how many goals ... Give me at least five... either 3-2, 4-0 or zero, ... for me four is enough."

It is not believed that any Premier League sides are involved in the scandal, but the identities of the clubs affected cannot be disclosed for legal reasons.

The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that it has liaised with the NCA during their investigation.

In one of the Manchester meetings, the alleged fixer explained that the syndicate would use a yellow card at the beginning of the game as signal that the match was fixed.

He said: "For example, within the first 10 minutes, I will ask them to take one yellow card. So, one yellow card is about £5,000.

"So I say [to the player], okay, in the first 10 minutes I need to see the yellow. If there's no yellow, that's it, I will not pay you anything."

In a statement, Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey said the league had not yet been contacted by the police.

“We understand from media reports that there is an ongoing Police investigation into alleged match fixing in domestic football,” the statement said.

“To date, we have had no contact from the Police regarding this matter.

“The threat of corruption is something that The Football League and the other football authorities treat with the utmost seriousness.

“The integrity of our matches and our competitions is the bedrock of the domestic game."