Three admit to football match-fixing

A Malaysian man and two English football players have admitted

to fixing matches in Melbourne as part of an international

syndicate.

Defender Reiss Noel and goalkeeper Joe Woolley, both 24, were

convicted and fined on Friday after they admitted helping to fix

games while playing for the Southern Stars in the semi-professional

Victorian Premier League.

Alleged ring organizer Segaran Gsubramaniam, 45, of Malaysia,

pleaded guilty to a single charge of engaging in conduct that

corrupts or could corrupt the outcome of a betting event.

Gsubramaniam will also face a hearing in April over accusations

he conspired to fix five Southern Stars games between July and

September of this year.

The match-fixing ring was made public in September when Football

Federation Australia issued a statement saying several players from

the Southern Stars had been arrested after a police

investigation.

Prosecutor Peter Rose told the Melbourne Magistrates Court that

Woolley and Noel were skilled players who had manipulated the

results of games according to instruction.

”They were able to change the results of the games with some

ease,” he said, adding that both players made full admissions

about their conduct and did not make much money out of the

scheme.

Defense lawyer Anthony Brand said the two players were

”expendable” parts of the syndicate’s ”hit-and-run” operation

in Australia.

Brand said the scheme was well-orchestrated but ”clumsy” in

its execution, with people seen to be yelling suspicious

instructions from the sidelines during Southern Stars matches.

He told the court the instructions to fix matches would be

passed through team manager Zia Younan.

Brand said Noel and Woolley were ashamed and embarrassed about

their conduct.

”They appreciate that their careers in soccer are completely

finished,” he said.

Magistrate Jack Vandersteen fined Woolley 1,200 Australian

dollars ($1,090) for his part in fixing three matches, while Noel

received a AU$2,000 ($1,800) fine for helping to fix four

games.

Vandersteen said the offending was serious, but conceded the two

men had no idea about the wider implications of their conduct.

Younan, 36, and English Southern Stars players David Obaze, 23,

and Nicholas McKoy, 27, have also been charged with match-fixing

offenses and will appear in court on Dec. 20.