Goodison under probe - Jamaican among six released on bail amid match-fixing allegations in Britain

Published: Tuesday | December 10, 2013 Comments 0
Ian 'Pepe' Goodison
Ian 'Pepe' Goodison

 Former Reggae Boy defender Ian 'Pepe' Goodison was released on bail yesterday for his alleged involvement in spot-fixing in British football.

Goodison represented Jamaica from 1996 to 2009 and retired after 120 appearances and 11 goals. He played in Jamaica's historic World Cup Finals appearance in 1998 in France.

The Jamaican is among six men being fingered in the probe.

The Sun newspaper in Britain initially 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.

"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 (PFA) said. "We take the issue of integrity very seriously and will continue in our efforts to eradicate this evil from our game."

Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA) said it is probing spot-fixing involving Football League players being paid to get yellow and red cards.

It had not identified any of the people arrested, but said all six men had been released on bail until April.

However, The Sun named Goodison as one of six men arrested on Sunday.

Goodison plays for Tranmere Rovers in England where he has made 402 appearances and scored 13 times, since 2004.

In a statement Tranmere said: "Tranmere Rovers is aware of reports in today's media regarding Ian Goodison. As it is an ongoing investigation, the club has no further comment at this time."

According to the AP report, Goodison was arrested along with 34-year-old former Portsmouth and Nigeria defender Sam Sodje, his brother Axpo, 32-year-old striker DJ Campbell and Oldham's Cristian Montano.

Campbell has previously played in the top flight for Birmingham, Blackpool and Queens Park Rangers. He's been playing for Blackburn in the League Championship season. 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 centre 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.

According to The Sun, former Portsmouth and Nigeria defender 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 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.

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