Blackburn striker Campbell nabbed in fixing probe
English football faced renewed concerns about match-fixing
Monday after Blackburn striker D.J. Campbell was identified as one
of six people arrested in the second police investigation into
rigged games opened inside 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 newspaper 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
”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 and other stakeholders
in the game in educating players of these risks,” the Professional
Footballers’ 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’s been playing for Blackburn
in the League Championship season, and the club confirmed
Campbell’s arrest on its website but said it was prevented from
commenting further because it is an ongoing legal matter.
The main allegations don’t 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.
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 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-pound payout.
Sodje, who presented himself as a fixer, also told the reporter
that he was once sent off on purpose for a fee of 70,000
The allegations alarmed his former club, with Portsmouth
announcing it would be summoning its players to a meeting on
Tuesday to warn them about the threat posed by fixers.
”All you can do is check the people around you, notice anything
suspicious and inform the players how serious an issue this is,”
Portsmouth chief executive Mark Catlin said. ”We will be doing
that tomorrow as a club, speaking to the players and saying we have
to be self-policing.
”If anyone sees or hears anything suspicious it’s not a case of
dropping a friend in it, it’s about upholding the integrity of the
sport. Things like this need to be dealt with internally. The
people who will root this out are the players, the managers and the
people within football.”
At least one League One player is also under investigation, with
Oldham confirming Cristian Montano had been arrested and suspended
by the club.
Montano tried to get booked in exchange for a payment in a
League One match in October, according to The Sun.
”Anybody who saw that Sky News report will have been devastated
and sick to their stomachs,” Oldham manager Lee Johnson said on
the club’s website, referring to television coverage. ”However, we
have to let the authorities do their job and duties, and we cannot
Britain’s National Crime Agency has not identified any of the
people arrested, but said Monday that all six men had been released
on bail until April.
”The NCA can confirm that the Sun on Sunday has passed material
from its own investigation to the National Crime Agency,” the
London-based agency said in a statement. ”An active NCA
investigation is now underway and we are working closely with the
Football Association and the Gambling Commission.”
The NCA is also investigating an alleged international illegal
betting syndicate following an undercover investigation by the
Daily Telegraph which led to two players from the sixth tier being
charged with conspiring to fix matches last week.