Jail terms for three over match-fixing in England

Jail terms for three over match-fixing in England

Two businessmen have been sentenced to five years in prison and a footballer for 16 months in relation to England's biggest football match-fixing scandal for over 50 years.

Chann Sankaran, 33, a Singaporean, and Krishna Ganeshan, 44, a Briton who was born in Sri Lanka, were convicted at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday on conspiracy to commit bribery and were handed five-year jail terms at sentencing on Friday.

Michael Boateng, a former player for sixth-tier Conference South side Whitehawk in Brighton, was convicted of conspiring to offer, promise or give a financial advantage to other persons and was jailed for 16 months.

Another footballer, Hakeem Adelakun, was cleared while a fifth man will face a retrial after the jury was discharged from reaching a verdict.

The men were among seven people arrested last November on suspicion of being connected to an illegal betting syndicate based in Singapore that was involved in match-fixing in English lower league football.

Sankaran and Ganeshan were charged in November and the three footballers faced charges in December.

"The NCA is in no doubt that Ganeshan and Sankaran were at the very beginning of a concerted attempt to build a network of corrupt players in the UK," National Crime Agency branch commander Richard Warner said in a statement on its website (www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk).

"Their aim was to influence play so that they could make spot bets and manipulate scorelines to generate large sums of money. They clearly had links to business-like networks overseas.

"This is not sport as a football-loving nation recognises it. It is corruption and bribery linked to serious organised crime, and the NCA is determined to stop criminals benefiting from it.

"The evidence in corruption cases is often either verbal or visual. Unless you are there when money changes hands, or plans are made, that evidence is gone. We had a vital opportunity here to intervene early, secure the evidence to get convictions, and put a stop to Sankaran's and Ganeshan's much wider and more sinister ambitions."

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