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Old 9th December 2013, 12:06   #1
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Default DJ Campbell held in football fixing probe

DJ Campbell held in football fixing probe
BBC 9 December 2013 Last updated at 10:39

Former Premiership footballer DJ Campbell is among six people being questioned in connection with allegations of fixing in football matches, his club have confirmed.

Mr Campbell, who plays for Championship side Blackburn, was one of six people arrested on Sunday.

The arrests came after ex-Portsmouth player Sam Sodje told a reporter he could arrange for players to be booked or sent off in exchange for cash.

Portsmouth FC said it was "shocked".

Mr Campbell, 32 - whose full name is Dudley Junior Campbell - played in the Premier League for Birmingham, Blackpool and QPR.

Blackburn Rovers FC said in a statement: "Following reports in today's national media, Blackburn Rovers can confirm that striker DJ Campbell has been arrested.

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

Red card

The names of the five others being held have not been confirmed.
Sam Sodje Former Nigerian international Sam Sodje made nine appearances for Portsmouth last season

Mr Sodje was secretly filmed by the Sun on Sunday describing how he punched an opponent in a League One game to get a red card in exchange for £70,000.

He was sent off in the 50th minute of a League One match while playing for Portsmouth against Oldham Athletic on 23 February.

The paper also reported that an Oldham player, Cristian Montano, apologised to Mr Sodje after failing to get a yellow card in the first half of a match against Wolves on 22 October.

And it said that Mr Sodje's brother Akpo, a striker at Tranmere Rovers, had said he would be prepared to be paid to be booked.

The allegations prompted the National Crime Agency to launch an inquiry.

"An active NCA investigation is now under way and we are working closely with the Football Association and the Gambling Commission," it said in a statement.

"Six people are in custody and are being questioned by NCA officers. We cannot comment further at this stage."

'Shocked and saddened'

In a statement from Portsmouth Football Club, spokesman Colin Farmery said: "If these serious allegations are true then we are extremely shocked and saddened by them, as match-fixing of any type goes to the heart of the integrity of the game.

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

Mr Montano's club, Oldham Athletic, said it would be starting an immediate internal investigation.

Tranmere Rovers said it was "aware of Sunday newspaper allegations regarding Akpo Sodje" but would make no further comment on the ongoing investigation.

Former Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) chairman Clarke Carlisle said an increase in the number of betting markets in recent years had made it "very easy to manipulate a single incident".

"Influencing a match used to be wholly more complex because it's 22 men - or 25 if you're including officials - who you need to get to," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"But now something as simple as a booking, a red card - these can be manufactured incidents.

"I think the betting markets are something that we could have a look at as an industry."

'Educating players'

Former FA chairman Mark Palios said one answer was to "get into the dressing rooms and to make sure that the guys actually have the ability to safely whistle-blow".

The game should look to other industries that "try to make it easy for the whistle-blower", he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The Football League, meanwhile, said it took claims of criminal activity "extremely seriously" and would give police its full assistance.

The Gambling Commission and Football Association said they were working with the NCA.

A statement from the PFA said the allegations, if proven, demonstrated "the real issue football faces in terms of corruption" and showed how important it was to educate players of the risks.

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

In a separate NCA investigation into an alleged international betting syndicate, two non-league footballers were last week charged with conspiracy to defraud.

BBC Sport's Richard Conway said there had been an assumption for a long time that English football was immune to fixing.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King
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