A match-fixing investigation in Ireland which started three years ago led to 10 arrests made this morning, the BBC reported based on an official statement issued by the Irish police.
Retired and Active Soccer Players Arrested
According to the statement issued by the Irish police, the Gardai, revealed that 10 males in Dublin, Cork and Limerick were arrested on Wednesday morning as part of the ongoing investigation into alleged match-fixing on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud.
Called Operation Brookweed, the investigation launched three years ago led by the anti-bribery and corruption unit within the Irish police, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, acting on the information provided by the Republic of Ireland’s governing body, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI), and Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) that some of the matches in the League of Ireland had been fixed. According to sources, two games played in 2019 have been the focus of investigators.
Detective Superintendent Catharina Gunne of the Gardai anti-bribery and corruption unit referred to match-fixing and corruption as “a threat to all sports at all levels” as it can be easily infiltrated by organized crime and then used to “make illicit gains or launder proceeds of crime.”
The FAI responded to the news by issuing a statement in which the soccer governing body outlined it has been closely following the alleged match-fixing investigation and used the occasion to re-affirm its commitment to tackle match-fixing and protect the integrity of the sport.
“The FAI, in conjunction with UEFA, remains committed to a zero-tolerance policy on match-fixing. As this is now a legal matter we will be making no further comment,” the FAI statement concluded.
‘Highly Complex Investigation’
A number of properties have been searched as part of the investigation, the Gardai said in the statement, but did not disclose any details related to the identities of the people detained who are being held at various police stations for questioning.
According to the Irish Independent, among the 10 men arrested under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984, there are 2 active soccer players and 5 former players who have already retired while a certain club from the League of Ireland is at the center of the investigation. Among the remaining three detainees, one is a close relative of an arrested retired player.
“What has been looked at very closely is all kinds of suspicious bets in the course of a number of matches including goals scored, goals conceded, fouls, the quantity of corners and other bets,” a senior source cited by the media said.
“This has been a highly complex investigation in which there has been a number of phones seized and then analyzed and there has been a massive trawl of gambling records,” the source added.
The Gardai used the occasion to appeal for anyone who has any information about match-fixing or sports corruption to contact them on the national Anti-Bribery and Corruption Confidential Reporting Line or by visiting their local Garda Station.