Skip to main content

D.J. Campbell arrested in English match-fixing investigation

updated 4:42 AM EST, Wed December 11, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Blackburn striker D.J. Campbell arrested in spot-fixing investigation, his soccer club confirms
  • Five other players in English lower divisions also arrested, says National Crime Agency
  • The NCA says Monday that five released on bail while other is still being questioned
  • UK's Sun on Sunday newspaper published allegations made by undercover investigative team

(CNN) -- A former English Premier League footballer is one of six players who have reportedly been arrested in the latest fixing scandal to hit the sport.

Second division team Blackburn Rovers confirmed Monday that striker D.J. Campbell had been taken into custody by police as part of an undercover investigation into claims that the players accepted bribes to ensure certain outcomes during a match -- known as spot-fixing -- for betting purposes.

"Following reports in today's national media, Blackburn Rovers can confirm that striker D.J. Campbell has been arrested," Blackburn, which has won the English title three times, said in a statement.

"The club will be making no further comment on what is now an ongoing legal matter."

UK match-fixing arrests
Jerome Valcke: Match-fixing a 'disease'
How does match fixing occur?

Campbell came to prominence in 2006 when he was signed by EPL side Birmingham, having spent most of his career in non-league football.

His time in the top flight was limited as Birmingham was relegated that season, but he helped the club win promotion again before being sold to second division Leicester and then returning to the EPL with Blackpool. CNN has attempted to contact Campbell but is awaiting a response.

The arrests were first reported by the UK's Sun on Sunday newspaper, which focused on what appear to be claims by former Nigeria international Sam Sodje, who was recorded on video published by the Sun saying he could arrange for players to receive yellow cards for offenses during a match.

On the video published by the Sun, Sodje appears to admit he purposefully got himself thrown out of a game by hitting the opposing team's player, while in action for his former club Portsmouth against Oldham in a third division match in February. Authorities have not confirmed Sodje is one of the players arrested. CNN has attempted to reach Sodje for comment, but hasn't yet reached him.

Sodje, who was released by Portsmouth at the end of last season, twice punched an opposition player in the groin before being ordered off the pitch. The Sun on Sunday reported that Sodje claimed on hidden camera that he received £70,000 ($114,000) for doing so.

He also appears to claim in the Sun's hidden video footage that he could influence the outcome of EPL matches, and that he was targeting the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"That'll be the one, the World Cup," Sodje said in the video, according to the Sun on Sunday. "We'll do a whole game, get booked once, big money. If you pay a hundred grand it will be huge."

Portsmouth, now playing in England's bottom division, said it is "extremely shocked and saddened " by the allegations.

"Match-fixing of any type goes to the heart of the integrity of the game," said spokesman Colin Farmery.

"The player in question no longer plays for the club and we have not been contacted by the authorities, but of course we would cooperate fully with any inquiry."

Match-fixing suspect turns himself in
How to fix a soccer match
380 football matches deemed suspicious

Sodje's brother Akpo plays for third division side Tranmere, and his club said it was "aware" of the allegations that the 33-year-old and another of his teammates, former Jamaica international Ian Goodison, are also being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA). CNN has been unable to reach either of the Tranmere players for comment.

Oldham Athletic confirmed it is cooperating with the authorities over allegations involving its player Cristian Montano but -- like Tranmere -- declined to comment further due to the ongoing investigation. Oldham said it has suspended Montano without pay until the investigation is concluded. CNN has reached out to Montano for comment, but hasn't yet connected with him.

None of the six players have been charged. Five were released on bail until April 2014, the NCA said Monday, and the other is still being questioned. It said the Sun on Sunday had passed on material from its own investigation.

England's Professional Footballers' Association said the allegations, if proven, "unfortunately demonstrate the real issue football faces in terms of corruption."

"It highlights the necessity of the work carried out by the PFA and other stakeholders in the game in educating players of these risks," the PFA said in a statement Monday.

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

Football authorities have been trying to clamp down on match-fixing and illegal gambling, much of which is driven by Asian betting syndicates.

In February, European crime agency Europol announced it had probed 680 suspicious matches across the globe including two European Champions League matches and in September authorities in Singapore made 14 arrests in an attempt to crackdown on football match fixing.

There have been arrests after investigations into competitions across Europe, in China and Australia, with most involving lower-level teams.

There were seven arrests in Britain last month as part of the NCA probe into a "suspected international illegal betting syndicate" which is targeting lower league matches.

This came after four British players were arrested and charged for alleged match-fixing in Australia's Victoria Premier League this year.

The quartet, who spent part of last season with clubs in England's non-league Conference South -- effectively the country's sixth division -- have been suspended by football's world governing body FIFA.

Two pleaded guilty and were fined last week, while the other two will return to court on December 20.

The NCA confirmed it is working with the English Football Association and the Gambling Commission as it continues its investigations.

Read: 7 arrested in UK match-fixing investigation

Read: Europa League matches involved in match-fix case

Read: Match-fixing allegations rock NZ cricket

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is provoking huge media interest and the hungry attention of Europe's top clubs.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
updated 2:58 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
updated 12:49 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
updated 6:12 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
updated 12:56 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
updated 2:28 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
ADVERTISEMENT