Police question 'Pepe' Goodison in sweeping spot-fixing probe

Tuesday, December 10, 2013    

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LONDON, England — Jamaica International and current Tranmere Rover FC defender, Ian 'Pepe' Goodison, one of six men arrested as part of a football spot-fixing investigation, remains in police custody in the United Kingdom, according to the British media.

At press time, Goodison, 41, was still being quizzed by police, while five other men have now been released on bail.

He is the second Tranmere player linked to the scandal, after striker Akpo Sodje was fingered in the probe.

"Tranmere Rovers is aware of reports in today's media regarding Ian Goodison," the club has been quoted as saying yesterday.

"As this is an ongoing investigation the Club has no further comment at this time."

Goodison, a former Jamaica international and France 1998 World Cup veteran, is a hugely popular figure at Prenton Park where he has made some 400 appearances.

Efforts to contact Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Captain Horace Burrell for a comment yesterday proved futile as he was said to be intransit from the World Cup draw held in Brazil recently.

Meanwhile, Blackburn striker DJ Campbell was identified as one of six people arrested in the second police investigation into rigged games opened inside two weeks.

Campbell is one of two former Premier League players arrested after British newspaper The Sun 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, and with claims by one player that he could even help rig Premier League matches.

"These allegations, if proved, 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 said. "We take the issue of integrity very seriously and will continue in our efforts to eradicate this evil from our game."

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, and 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.

The Sun reported that officers were likely to look at a yellow card Campbell received for a tackle committed in the first-half of Blackburn's game against Ipswich on Tuesday.

According to the newspaper, former Portsmouth and Nigeria defender Sam 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.

The allegations alarmed his former club, with Portsmouth announcing it would be summoning its players to a meeting to warn them about the threat posed by fixers.

"All you can do is check the people around you, notice anything suspicious and inform the players how serious an issue this is," Portsmouth chief executive Mark Catlin said.

At least one League One player is also under investigation, with Oldham confirming Cristian Montano had been arrested and suspended by the club.

Montano tried to get booked in exchange for a payment in a League One match in October, according to The Sun.

Britain's National Crime Agency has not identified any of the people arrested, but said yesterday that five were released on bail the previous evening until April, while a sixth was still being questioned, believed to be Jamaican Goodison.

"The NCA can confirm that The Sun on Sunday has passed material from its own investigation to the National Crime Agency," the London-based agency said in

a statement.

The NCA is also investigating an alleged international illegal betting syndicate following an undercover investigation by the Daily Telegraph, which led to two players from the sixth tier being charged with conspiring to fix matches last week.





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