Joe Woolley and Reiss Noel from England have been charged with betting-related corruption. The pair were at London side Hornchurch in the Isthmian League before moving to Southern Stars in Australia in July.
The match-fixing ring allegedly manipulated scores of the Melbourne-based Southern Stars, who play in the second-tier Victorian Premier League. Victoria Police said in a statement that they arrested 10 people, who were later identified by Football Federation Australia (FFA) as the coach and nine players of the team.
Police said they began investigating last month following a tipoff from the FFA, which passed on information from sports and betting-related data supplier Sportradar. The Stars are last in the standings having played 21 games this season and their only win came against the 12-team league’s top club.
The Stars brought in five players from the U.K. at no cost this season at the instigation of an unnamed man who also offered to organize sponsorship, the Australian Associated Press reported, citing Stars president Ercan Cicek.
Following yesterday’s arrests, Gerry Gsubramaniam, 45, was charged with five counts of conduct that corrupts a betting outcome or event, and a further five counts of facilitating conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome or event, police said in a statement.
Five other men were each charged with four counts of engaging in conduct that corrupts a betting outcome or event and four counts of facilitating conduct that corrupts or would a betting outcome or event or event.
The four other men arrested yesterday were released pending further inquiries, police said. Match-fixing charges can attract a 10-year maximum jail sentence in Australia and soccer bans.
Detective acting senior sergeant Scott Poynder told the hearing that Mr Gsubramaniam had received payment for giving Southern Stars players information on how games were to unfold.
“He is the contact point,” Poynder said. “He receives phone calls. He is given advice on how the Southern Stars players are to perform.”
Sgt. Poynder told the hearing at least five games had been identified by Sportradar as being “highly suspicious”.
He opposed bail and Mr Gsubramaniam was remanded to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates today.
“Video showed some of the players were doing some unusually poor play,” Sgt Poynder said. “For that work (Gsubramaniam) received payment. Some of the bets are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
FFA Chief Executive Officer David Gallop said on Sunday evening that police had indicated that they were looking at an “isolated issue” in Victoria.
“From the FFA’s point of view we’ll initiate proceedings under our own codes of conduct,” Gallop said at a news conference on Sunday. “You can be sure that we will throw the book at them. That means life bans on a worldwide basis.”