London: Two men of South Asian origin have been charged over alleged match-fixing in English football, the National Crime Agency said on Thursday.
Singapore national Chann Sankaran, 33, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, 43, who has dual British and Singapore nationality, have been charged with conspiracy to defraud. They were among six people held earlier this week, and a seventh person has now been arrested.
According to the BBC, none of them are linked to professional football clubs. Sankaran and Ganeshan, who are of South Asian origin, are alleged to be members of an illegal betting syndicate and accused of committing the offences in "Manchester and elsewhere".
The National Crime Agency (NCA) said the four other people arrested earlier this week were bailed today pending further inquiries. At least three footballers are reported to be among those held across the country.
Sankaran and 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.
In a meeting filmed secretly by `The Daily Telegraph` one of those charged claimed gamblers could stand to make hundreds of thousands of pounds using insider information to place bets with Asian companies.
The man, who met undercover reporters in Manchester, is reported to have planned to target two matches this month. Explaining how he would ensure players deliver a particular scoreline, he told an undercover reporter: "In England the cost is very high...Usually for the players it is 70,000 pounds. 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."
A Football Association spokesman said: "The FA has been made aware of a number of arrests in relation to an NCA investigation. We have worked closely with the authorities in relation to these allegations. The FA will make no further comment at this time due to ongoing investigations."
The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that it has liaised with the NCA during their investigation.