London: A survey of 100 professional footballers, including 11 from the Premier League, has revealed that 14 percent of them are of the opinion that the matches were fixed to gain profit from the 650 billion pound-a-year Far East gambling markets.
According to the survey, many players think British football has been wrecked by rigged games. Players revealed that even the non-league matches are targeted by the betting mafia.
One League Two defender said it goes on, adding he has had players call him and tell him to bet on the outcome of a match, especially at the end of the season in League Two or the Conference.
The defender added he had never been approached himself, but he knows it goes on rampantly. Another League Two defender said he was playing in non-league football and the chairman was into it and everything, adding they would be told to throw a game and everyone lumped into it.
The shock revelations come from a players’ poll in FourFourTwo magazine which surveyed 11 Premier League players, 29 from the Championship, 18 from League One, 31 from League Two and 11 from the Scottish Premier League.
It follows claims by Europol, the EU law enforcement agency, that 425 match and club officials, players and serious criminals, from more than 15 countries, have been involved in bids to fix games by a Singapore crime gang.
They are reported to have identified Liverpool’s 2009 victory over Hungarian side Debrecen at Anfield as one of 380 matches worldwide to have been targeted by a Far Eastern betting ring.
The Football Association insists it is not aware of any credible reports of fixing in England.