Two men have been charged in connection with the latest match fixing scandal to hit the world of football, Michael Chopra talking about his gambling problems, and Kenny Sansom thanks the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) for helping him recover from gambling and alcohol problems.
The UEFA President Michel Platini believes that match fixing represents the greatest threat to the future of the world’s most popular sport, and we have three sports betting news stories from the UK that worryingly trend towards the magical Frenchman’s foresight.
Two men have been charged in connection with the English Football match fixing scandal that we brought you late last week.
Chann Sankaran, a 33-year old Singaporean national, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, a 43-year old with dual UK and Singaporean nationality, have both been charged with conspiring to defraud bookmakers by influencing the course of football matches.
At the time of writing there is still no news regarding the teams, or the players, involved but it’s believed to be non-league matches.
Five other men were released on bail and amongst them was Delroy Facey, 33, player turned agent who once graced the Premier League with Bolton.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) issued a statement that said Sankaran and Ganeshan had conspired together and with others ‘to defraud bookmakers by influencing the course of football matches and placing bets thereon. The Crown Prosecution’s Organized Crime Division found sufficient evidence and was satisfied it was in the public interest to authorize charges of conspiracy to defraud. The maximum sentence for this offence is 10-years’ imprisonment.”
Declan Hill, author of The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime and The Insider’s Guide to Match Fixing in Football,” told The Times ‘this tide of globalized sports corruption has reached all around the world. British football administrators have been sleepwalking themselves into a crisis. They’ve been warned about this for years.”
The Football Association (FA) has reacted to the news by stating that neither they nor the various leagues have been found guilty of complacency. The NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB must be smiling from ear to ear as they continue to gather evidence like this in their sports betting war against the New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as he promises to move heaven and earth to create a platform to allow online sports betting in the Garden State.
Non-league football is perfect for the snakes in the grass because it is nowhere near as high profile as Premiership or other English League matches. The players are on normal working-middle class wages and people expect them to make more mistakes and errors on the pitch.
One set of eyes that is firmly set on non-league football matches is that of the bookmaker, with a standard non league game expected to create over 50 different betting markets for the would be punter.
In a recent interview with Brian Touhy, author of the controversial sports fixing book Larceny Games: Sports Gambling, Game Fixing and the FBI, he told me that no player was safe from the clutches of the match fixers, as drug and gambling issues can create huge amounts of debt for even the richest players in the American leagues.
A case in point over the great blue yonder is the Blackpool Striker Michael Chopra, 29, who has revealed that he quit Cardiff City, and signed for Sunderland, so he could use the signing on fee to pay off his gambling debts during a trial at Newcastle Crown Court last week.
Chopra told the court how he would gamble up to £30,000 in cash with other players on the team bus en route to matches when just a teenager playing for Newcastle United.
“Players would gamble on the bus and I got involved. We would take thousands of pounds on to the bus, anything up to £30,000.
“It might change hands playing cards on the bus, we would go to the bank before and take out the money. It was part of team bonding. We were playing for real cash, if you were playing for £30,000 you would have it with you at the time.” Said Chopra.
Chopra also revealed how he was threatened by Scottish loan sharks during his time with Ipswich, the club and the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) – headed by the gambling afflicted Gordon Taylor – organized a £250,000 loan to help him pay off debts created through gambling.
“I had loan sharks turning up at the training ground when I was at Ipswich. They came up to me and asked me for my autograph and said I better get myself into the club and get that money now.
“They said they knew what car I was driving and they would follow me until I paid them. They said they knew what school my little boy went to and where my parents lived and where I lived in Ipswich. I felt sick that I had put my family in that situation from my gambling.”
It’s believed Chopra lost £2m through gambling and was giving evidence at the trial of four men on drugs charges. Earlier this year Chopra admitted banning himself from as many gambling sites as he could in order to ‘fight this illness.”
It’s thought that Sheldon Adelson is keen to sign him up as star striker for the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) football team.
Another former top-notch footballer has been in the news as a result of gambling problems.
The former Arsenal and England full back Kenny Sansom has publically thanked the FA after revealing how they have helped him find his feet again, after being found sleeping on park benches just four month ago.
Sansom lost everything as he fought against crippling alcohol and gambling addictions, but has been sober for the past two months thanks in part to the FA and also Sporting Chance. A clinic established by Tony Adams MBE in a bid to help sportsmen and women recover from alcoholism.