FA Accused of Failing to Investigate Potential Match-Fixing in Non-League Games

October 3, 2013

The English Football Association (FA) has come under fire for allegedly not investigating potential match-fixing at non-league football games.

The BBC have reported that matches involving Billericay Town, AFC Hornchurch and Chelmsford from the Conference South last season had such suspicious betting patterns that bookmakers stopped taking bets on them.

In fact, the report highlighted that a Billericay Town match last year received more betting interest than the Barcelona game that week, despite the Essex club playing in the sixth tier of English football.

At the time the FA promised to act and told clubs to “remind players and officials of their responsibilities under the rules.”

However, all three chairmen of the clubs told BBC Sport that they had not been questioned or approached by the FA.

The former head of the FA’s compliance unit, Graham Bean, said: “It is my belief that the FA tend to stick their heads in the sand at suggestions of match-fixing and tend to give a perception that they don’t think it actually exists.

“When I was at the FA, I once raised the idea of having an intelligence hotline where anonymous contact could be made to report wrongdoing. I was laughed at for the suggestion.”

Steve Kent, chairmen of Billericay Town added: “I am calling for the authorities in this country to investigate the possibility of match-fixing at our level of football.

“How can they investigate alleged match-fixing involving my club when not a single person from the police, the FA, or the league made any kind of approach to us whatsoever? It’s amazing.”

Australian case

Kent also highlighted recent events in Australia where a group of British players were arrested and charged for match-fixing in the second-tier Victorian Premier League. Three of the four came from AFC Hornchurch.

“In the light of recent events in Australia, it’s time for a proper investigation,” said Kent.

“I’m not saying match-fixing is rife or commonplace, but from the information I have been gathering it certainly warrants an investigation.

“When I saw the names involved I was shocked. The names I was reading I was so familiar with. Last season, they were all playing at our level. We played against them. That’s what shocked me the most.”