Aussie A-League rocked by arrests of 3 players in match-fixing probe

May 17 – Australian professional football has been plunged into disrepute by accusations that the captain of A-League club Macarthur FC paid two younger teammates up to 10,000 Australian dollars to deliberately receive yellow cards in a scheme set up by a South American gambling connection.

Ulises Davila (pictured) and fellow players Kearyn Baccus and Clayton Lewis have been arrested over their alleged involvement in the match-fixing scheme, which police say led to hundreds of thousands of dollars being paid out in winnings.

All three players were formally charged and granted bail with Davila scheduled to appear in court on June 24.

Davila joined Macarthur in 2021 from A-League rivals Wellington Phoenix, and is widely regarded as one of the best players in Australia.

The Mexican-born attacking midfielder was on the books of Chelsea from 2011 to 2015 but failed to make a senior appearance. After leaving England, Devila became somewhat of a football nomad, plying his trade in Holland, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, India and New Zealand.

Football Australia said it “has been made aware of the arrests of three A-League Men players this morning, following an investigation by the NSW Police Force Organised Crime Squad into alleged betting corruption under Strike Force Beaconview.”

“The allegations pertain to yellow card manipulation by players associated with a south-western Sydney football club, with incidents reportedly occurring during games played on 24 November 2023, 9 December 2023, 20 April 2024, and 4 May 2024.

“Football Australia is fully cooperating with the Organised Crime Squad, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Sport Integrity Australia and the NSW Crime Commission in this matter. Football Australia will provide no further comments at this stage as the investigation is ongoing.”

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) then released their own statement saying “the work to protect the integrity of our game must be unwavering and we are liaising closely with all relevant agencies on this matter. Given the ongoing nature of the investigation and Police enquiries we are unable to comment further at this time.”

Investigations revealed Davila, 33, was allegedly taking instructions from a man – believed to be offshore in South America – to organise for yellow cards to occur during certain games in exchange for profit.

“We are very shocked,’ said Macarthur FC chief executive officer Sam Krslovic. “Obviously, we need the courts to run their process. We’ll comment when appropriate as things develop.”

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