Third player convicted in Australia match-fixing case

MELBOURNE - An Australian court on Thursday convicted a third British soccer player for his part in a match-fixing ring that corrupted games in a semi-professional league in Victoria state.

David Obaze, 25, was one of four Britons charged with corruption after a police investigation into betting irregularities surrounding Victoria Premier League club Southern Stars.

Defender Reiss Noel and goalkeeper Joe Woolley, both Britons, were convicted and fined in December for throwing games on the instruction of a betting syndicate.

Obaze pleaded guilty on Thursday to fixing three VPL games and was fined A$3000 ($2,800), the Australian Associated Press said, citing the Melbourne Magistrates' Court.

Magistrate Duncan Reynolds said Obaze had been a professional soccer player since he was 16 and had no other training or skills. "I take the view that he was enticed by the corrupting influences imported into the club. He was not strong enough to walk away," AAP quoted Reynolds as saying.

A fourth Briton, Nicholas McKoy, 24, had also entered a guilty plea and was scheduled for a hearing in September, the news agency said.

The players were handed life bans by FIFA last year.

Malaysian national Segaran "Gerry" Subramaniam, described by police as the facilitator between the players and an off-shore syndicate, was sentenced in April to three years imprisonment, with two suspended, after he pleaded guilty to one charge of match-fixing.