Six people have been arrested on suspicion of fixing British football matches, including at least three current footballers.

Police are investigating an Asian betting syndicate, with the National Crime Agency arresting the six men in the last two days.

One of the people arrested is understood to be a former Premier League footballer who now works as an agent.

The investigation follows an undercover investigation by the Daily Telegraph newspaper, which recorded one alleged fixer offering to rig two games.

“These games, we understand, are outside the Premier League and outside the Football League, so right down in the lower leagues,” says Sky News Sports Correspondent Paul Kelso.

In the undercover filming, the alleged fixer says: “So I talk to them. Double confirm. I also tell them, I tell….this (is) what I want…Because simple I commit myself and they commit.

“So you tell me how many goals…Give me at least five. Ok I do need five. Either 3-2, 4-0, 4-1, I will say I do it for that, for me four is enough.”

In another part of the secret filming the alleged fixer claims that the footballers are not difficult to persuade.

“What the players want … they want the money,” the man says.

“So for 90 minutes I pay them £7,000 … definitely they take.”

The cost of fixing games in England is “very high”, the man in the video adds, saying that the usual rate to bribe the players is £70,000.

The Daily Telegraph says the alleged fixer backed up his claims by correctly forecasting the outcome of three matches by the same team.

“I know what they’re going to do … I know because they all tell me every time,” the man reportedly said.

The six people arrested are being held under the Bribery and Fraud Acts at a Midlands police station.

The National Crime Agency said the focus of its investigation is “a suspected international illegal betting syndicate”.

Gambling on the matches is thought to take place on Asian-based betting services and so far investigators to do not believe British betting markets are involved.

The Football Association told Sky News: “The FA has been made aware of a number of arrests in relation to a National Crime Agency investigation.

“We have worked closely with the authorities in relation to the investigation.

“The FA will make no further comment due to it being an on-going investigation.”

Sky News Sports Correspondent Paul Kelso said fixers were likely to target the lower leagues because the players do not get paid large sums.

“Such is the scale of the betting markets, particularly in Asia – where they are unregulated and often illegal – there are huge profits to be made, even from these small games,” said Kelso.

“Rumours around the targeting of lower league games have been rife for a long time,” he adds.

“In February this year the FA wrote to all the clubs in the Conference – the fifth tier and below of English football – reminding them of the betting rules because there were suggestions from within the gambling industry that huge amounts of money relatively, hundreds of thousands of pounds, were being gambled on games played in front of a few hundred people.”

source: skynews