MELBOURNE (Reuters) - An international match-fixing ring that rigged matches in a second-tier soccer league in Australia was so unsophisticated that the middle man would shout instructions to players from the sideline during games, a Melbourne court has heard.
Malaysian Segaran "Gerry" Subramaniam acted as a facilitator between players at Melbourne-based Victorian Premier League club Southern Stars and overseas-based bosses of the betting syndicate to fix games last year.
Two English players were convicted and fined for their involvement, and slapped with worldwide life bans by soccer's global governing body FIFA earlier this year.
Subramaniam's method of communications left the players alarmed, Australian Associated Press reported on Friday, citing the Malaysian's lawyer at the Victorian County Court.
"The lack of sophistication was such that he was calling out from the sidelines," AAP quoted defence counsel Ian Hayden as telling the court.
"The (players) were saying 'does he want to be caught?'"
Subramaniam was paid A$2,000 (1,132 pounds) a month for his part in the operation, which saw about A$64,000 pass through his hands to organise payments, cars and hotels for the players.
The Malaysian has pleaded guilty to one match-fixing charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in Victoria state.
"The boss was ringing constantly," AAP quoted Subramaniam as saying in a record of interview read in the court.
"He called saying: 'This better... happen.'"
Prosecutors were seeking jail for Subramaniam, with sentencing at a later date.
(Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by John O'Brien)