Match-fixing: Two charged over English football claims

Football in back of goal The BBC understands no professional players were arrested

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Two people have been charged over alleged match-fixing in English football, the National Crime Agency (NCA) has said.

Singapore national Chann Sankaran, 33, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, 43, who has dual UK and Singapore nationality, are charged with conspiracy to defraud.

They were among six people held earlier this week, and a seventh person has now been arrested.

The BBC understands that none is linked to professional football clubs.

Mr Sankaran and Mr Ganeshan, who are alleged to be members of an illegal betting syndicate, are accused of committing the offences in "Manchester and elsewhere".

The NCA said the four other people arrested earlier this week were bailed on Thursday pending further inquiries.

At least three footballers are reported to be among those held across the country,

Sources have told the BBC one of the other suspects is former Premier League player Delroy Facey, now a football agent.

'Suspicious' betting
Delroy Facey Ex-Premier League striker Delroy Facey is thought to be one of the suspects

Mr Sankaran and Mr Ganeshan are alleged to have conspired with each other and others "to defraud bookmakers by influencing the course of football matches and placing bets thereon".

The NCA said the maximum sentence for the offences was 10 years in prison.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said there was "no place" for this sort of criminal activity in British sport, but the NCA's action showed "robust" measures were in place to tackle it.

Shadow sports minister Clive Efford criticised the government for failing to do enough to allow sports' governing bodies to tackle match fixing.

"Unfortunately the government, last week, voted against my amendments to the Gambling Bill that would have fixed the anomaly that exempts sports spread-betting operators from the requirement to pass on details of suspicious betting activity to sports governing bodies," he said.

'Below the radar'

Former Premier League chief executive Rick Parry said the allegations of match-fixing were "no great surprise".

He said criminals target lower-level games because the players earn less and so can be easier to bribe.

He also said such games were "relatively below the radar" - and that it would be much harder to fix a televised game without anyone noticing.

Mr Parry, who is also an ex-chief executive of Liverpool FC, said match-fixing allegations "can very rapidly lead to a major loss of confidence" and there was "no room for complacency".

The Football Association said it was aware of the NCA investigation but would not comment any further.

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