More players accused in Australian soccer match-fixing investigation

AP , Thursday 30 May 2024

Two more players could be involved in the Australian soccer match-fixing case that has already resulted in three Macarthur FC players being charged.

 Ulises Davila
Macarthur FC player Ulises Davila passes the ball during an A-League match against Melbourne City in Sydney, March 1, 2024. Davila and fellow players Kearyn Baccus and Clayton Lewis have been arrested, Friday, May 17, 2024. AP


Midfielder Kearyn Baccus appeared in court Thursday to face charges relating to an illegal betting plot to receive yellow cards during A-League matches in return for payment.

He was arrested on May 17 along with team captain Ulises Davila and teammate Clayton Lewis. All three were granted bail and were suspended by Football Australia under its code of conduct regulations.

Documents produced in Campbelltown Local Court on Thursday revealed that two other players are accused of participating in a criminal group.

Football Australia issued a statement saying it was aware of the allegations, but added that one of the players whose identity was revealed was not a suspect in the case.

“Football Australia acknowledges the enquiries regarding the potential involvement of other Macarthur FC players in the betting allegations ... ” the statement said. “It is important to note that (the player mentioned) is not regarded as a suspect and is currently not under investigation.

“Football Australia takes these matters seriously and is committed to cooperating fully with the authorities.”

The New South Wales state police organized crime squad launched Strike Force Beaconview to investigate last December with the help of Britain-based officials after suspicious spot-fixing betting patterns were identified.

Police have previously said a fourth Macarthur FC player was wanted for questioning but was not in New South Wales state at the time of the arrests.

The Australian Associated Press reported that Baccus did not speak during the brief mention of his case in the Campbelltown court in southwest Sydney and did not indicate how he would plead.

His case was adjourned to June 24, when he is due to appear at Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court.

Investigators have alleged the yellow cards, which are issued by referees as cautions for foul or illegal play, were manipulated during games played last November and December.

All three accused players received yellow cards in a Dec. 9 game against Sydney FC.

Investigators also allege unsuccessful attempts were made to do the same thing during matches on April 20 and May 4.

When the charges were laid, Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald said the players had “betrayed the trust of their supporters and the code.”

Macarthur FC has been in the A-League men’s competition since the 2020-21 season. The league has 11 clubs based in Australia and one in New Zealand.

Macarthur finished in fifth place during the regular season.

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