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Sunday 23 September 2018

Wenger: Low leagues vulnerable to match-fixing

Former Premier League footballer Delroy Facey. David Davies/ PA Wire
Former Premier League footballer Delroy Facey. David Davies/ PA Wire

ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger warned match-fixing will probably never be completely eradicated across the globe and accepts lower league teams in England could be vulnerable.

Two men appeared in court today after being charged with conspiracy to defraud as part of an investigation into alleged football match-fixing.

The National Crime Agency said the men, who are alleged to be members of an international illegal betting syndicate based in Singapore, are among six people arrested earlier this week as part of an ongoing investigation.

Wenger has first-hand experience of the impact match-fixing can have from his time in charge of Monaco when French champions and 1993 European Cup winners Marseille were found guilty of corruption, relegated and thrown out of European competition by UEFA.

The Arsenal manager feels the hard work against such illegal actions must continue in earnest.

"Can it be eradicated completely? I am not sure. It is not only a concern for me, it is a shame," Wenger said.

"I think we absolutely have to fight against that with the strongest severity to get that out of the game. Maybe the lower divisions are a bit more under threat because it is a bit more anonymous, there is less money so it is easier to buy people, but I don't think that exists in the Premier League at all."

It is alleged that between November 1 and November 26, Chann Sankaran, a 33-year-old Singapore national, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, a 43-year-old with dual UK and Singapore nationality met "at City of Manchester and elsewhere conspired together with each other and others to defraud bookmakers by influencing the course of football matches and placing bets thereon".

The maximum sentence for this offence is 10 years' imprisonment. It emerged on Thursday that a former Premier League footballer, Delroy Facey (left), was among those arrested held as part of the investigation.

The suspects are reported to include three current footballers.

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