English soccer faced renewed concerns about match-fixing on Monday after Blackburn Rovers striker D.J. Campbell was identified as one of six people arrested in the second police investigation into rigged games opened within two weeks.
Campbell is one of two former Premier League players arrested after British newspaper the Sun uncovered alleged spot-fixing — where minor elements of a game are rigged — in the professional leagues. That follows another investigation by the Daily Telegraph, which led to non-league players being charged.
The latest probe is seemingly more serious, as it involves games as high up as the second-tier League Championship and with claims by one player that he could even help rig Premier League matches.
“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 [Professional Footballers’ Association] and other stakeholders in the game in educating players of these risks,” the association said. “We take the issue of integrity very seriously and will continue in our efforts to eradicate this evil from our game.”
Campbell has previously played in the topflight for Birmingham, Blackpool and Queens Park Rangers. He has been playing for Blackburn in the League Championship this season and the club confirmed Campbell’s arrest on their Web site, but said they could not comment further because it is an ongoing legal matter.
The main allegations do not center on players affecting the results of a game, but rather on things like deliberately earning yellow cards. Many bookmakers allow people to bet on whether a certain player will be booked.
The Sun reported that officers were likely to look at a yellow card Campbell received for a tackle committed in the first half of Blackburn’s game against Ipswich on Tuesday last week.
According to the newspaper, former Portsmouth and Nigeria defender Sam Sodje claimed he could fix Premier League games and was capable of rigging matches at next year’s FIFA World Cup.
Sodje, who played in the Premier League for Reading, also allegedly told an undercover reporter that a player deliberately sought to get booked in a recent League Championship match in return for a ￡30,000 (US$49,300) payout.