Football

Published: Tuesday March 18, 2014 MYT 1:00:47 AM
Updated: Tuesday March 18, 2014 MYT 1:01:51 AM

Two players get worldwide bans for Australian match-fixing

BERNE (Reuters) - Two English players have had life bans extended worldwide for fixing matches in Australia's second-tier Victorian Premier League, soccer's governing body FIFA said Monday.

Defender Reiss Noel and goalkeeper Joe Woolley, who both played for Southern Stars, pleaded guilty and were fined by a Melbourne court in December after manipulating games on the instruction of betting syndicates based in Malaysia and Hungary.

Noel was slapped with a fine of A$2,000 (US$1,800) while Woolley got a penalty of A$1,200 for his role in the crime.

The two players were subsequently given lifetime bans by the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) and these were extended worldwide by FIFA's disciplinary committee on Friday, soccer's governing body said.

FIFA said two other British players and one Australian team official were still under FFA bans in relation to the same criminal investigations being conducted by Victoria police.

Malaysian Segaran Gsubramaniam, 45, described by police as the linchpin of the Australian operation and a link between the team and off-shore betting syndicates, also pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentence.

The multi-million dollar racket was smashed by police in September.

"FIFA continues to work closely with its member associations and the confederations to tackle match manipulation," added soccer's governing body.

"Regional workshops involving key stakeholders are being held all over the world while recently launched e-learning programmes are also helping to educate players, coaches and referees on the dangers of match manipulation to help them to avoid becoming victims of this threat to football integrity."

Woolley and Noel both played for semi-professional AFC Hornchurch in London before leaving the club in July to play for the Stars.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Alan Baldwin)

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