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Old 04-04-08, 03:42 AM   #1
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Footballer 'fixed match to pay off gambling debt of 50,000'

By Nick Harris- The Independant
Friday, 4 April 2008

A footballer with a serious gambling problem has admitted accepting a £50,000 bribe to help throw a game in Britain, The Independent can reveal.

According to a source familiar with the circumstances, the player – who has a Premiership club on his CV – racked up a £50,000 debt with a bookmaker. The bookmaker said he would write off the debt if the player got himself sent off and also persuaded three team-mates to get booked in a specific game.

The player agreed, and the incidents were fixed as requested. His team lostthe match, which was played in the past two years, the source said. The player subsequently sought professional help for his addiction, and was said to be "ashamed and full of remorse" about what happened. It is not known precisely how the bookmaker profited from the sending-off and bookings, but the assumption is that he either struck or laid "spread bets" relating to the cards, and that the game was at a level significant enough to warrant a sizeable market in this.

The suggestion that any match has been fixed – or that significant events within it have been rigged – is a nightmare scenario for football's authorities. It is confirmation that football in Britain is not immune to the corruption that has recently blighted other nations – including Italy, Germany and Poland – albeit with personal addiction as a driving force, as opposed to institutional corruption or large-scale criminal syndicates in those cases.

But addiction experts say it is illustrative of a wider gambling problem in society that raises issues for government as well as football's governing bodies.

The case was among a number of incidents disclosed privately by several sources at a seminar on gambling at the Sporting Chance clinic in Hampshire this week, seeking to highlight the threat of gambling to football's integrity. Those present included players and former players with personal experience of destructive behaviour caused by addiction.

Sporting Chance is Britain's foremost treatment centre for sports people with addictive illnesses. Its chief executive, Peter Kay, declined to confirm any specific details about the player who engineered the red card and who The Independent understands was treated at Sporting Chance.

Mr Kay said all the cases that the organisation handles were confidential. "Neither I nor Sporting Chance is responsible for what a client or ex-client might say, but if you're asking whether I'm aware of this case, the answer is yes," he said.

Pressed for further details about the "fixed" match, he said: "It doesn't matter if it is a Premiership player or a Conference player, quite frankly. It highlights that addiction of any sort can lead a person to take grave actions, possibly even attempt suicide."

One source at the seminar described a recent suicide attempt by a lower-division player who had a £37,000 gambling debt. Suicide attempts among problem gamblers are not unusual. Another source said they knew of current players – including some in the Premiership - who are fighting cocaine addiction without the knowledge of their clubs. There is an anecdotal link between cocaine and gambling among patients in rehab, according to Dr Henrietta Bowden Jones, one of the experts who addressed the seminar.

Dr Bowden Jones is a consultant psychiatrist and expert in substance misuse, and is the official spokesperson for the Royal College of Psychiatrists on matters pertaining to pathological gambling. She has worked with footballer addicts at a private London clinic, and has also referred players to Soprting Chance, founded by the former Arsenal player Tony Adams.

"You heard [in the seminar] from three speakers [all former players, unrelated to the "fix" case] about how lives and careers are destroyed, and how drastic decisions are made when someone is in the grip of addiction," said Mr Kay. "I don't believe the card business is widespread. But it has happened, yes, to my knowledge on several occasions."

Mr Kay first talked of an "epidemic" of gambling among footballers two years ago in an interview with The Independent. He stands by that description and has data to support it. In 2006, Sporting Chance dealt with about 30 footballers with addictive illnesses, gambling included. New referrals in the past year are twice that figure.

Mr Kay believes the increase is partly due to awareness of a problem within the game, and players' greater willingness to seek help. Though problem gambling is an issue for society at large, footballers seem to be disproportionately represented.

A government study last year – the 2007 Gambling Prevalence Survey – estimated that 0.6 per cent of Britain's adults are "problem gamblers". That should equate to about 24 problem gamblers in English football among about 4,000 professionals. But experts believe the real figure could be 10 times that number, equivalent to two or three players per club.

Football's authorities have shown contrasting attitudes to gambling. In a survey of players conducted by The Independent in 2000 in association with the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), more than a third of players said they bet on football, which at the time was against Football Association rules. Five players said they had been invited to "throw" a match, although all said they declined. But the FA subsequently relaxed its rules to outlaw bets only on games in which a player was involved, or could influence.

On the flip side, the FA is an active supporter – and funder – of programmes that educate players, especially young players, and provides help to those in trouble. The FA partially funds Sporting Chance, with the PFA the other major backer. No player has been declined treatment, and the provision of care for troubled players – paid for by the PFA and the FA – is not in doubt.

But there is intense debate about whether the game should take a concerted approach towards preventive education, using expert agencies. Within the Premier League, for example – the richest branch of football's family, and the league with the most to lose through any tarnishing of its image – there is a theoretical obligation to provide education, including on addiction, to young players. But in practice, central funding for specialist agency assistance remains largely untapped, and there are wide disparities about the level of education provided.

A wake-up call that games are being fixed might force the pace of change.
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Old 04-04-08, 05:58 AM   #2
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Jimmy Floyd Hasselbank*















*complete guess but he played in the prem!
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Old 04-04-08, 09:19 AM   #3
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Jimmy Floyd Hasselbank*















*complete guess but he played in the prem!



er...........


Paolo Di Canio*









*just a guess but he played in the prem
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Old 04-04-08, 09:23 AM   #4
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Di Canio and Hasselbaink both had more than one Prem club. This sounds like a lower league journeyman who once had 15 minutes of fame with a Prem club.

Errrrrrrr.......

Someone like Jordan Stewart maybe!
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Old 04-04-08, 09:26 AM   #5
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Who?!?

My guess: Trevor Benjamin!
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Old 04-04-08, 09:28 AM   #6
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Who?!?

My guess: Trevor Benjamin!
Stewart was at Leicester, at a similar time to Benjamin. Possibly just after.
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Old 04-04-08, 09:32 AM   #7
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My guess - Andy Cole
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Old 04-04-08, 09:38 AM   #8
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i see your point shaggy


er maybe someone like...........



danny cadamateri
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Old 04-04-08, 10:00 AM   #9
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Javier Mascheranio*




*obviously i'm just speculating.
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Old 04-04-08, 10:49 AM   #10
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And we wonder how all the spurious rumours about Gerrard etc start.
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Old 04-04-08, 10:50 AM   #11
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It's defo Robert Earnshaw, possibly. He's played in the Premiere League afterall.
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Old 04-04-08, 01:00 PM   #12
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No it's obvious a lower league player, to whom £50k is heck of alot of money. To someone who sees that as a years wage. Not someone in the prem now or very recently
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Old 04-04-08, 01:43 PM   #13
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Old 04-04-08, 01:50 PM   #14
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Matthew Etherington
Barton
Roy Carroll
Grant Brebner

All guesses, of course
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Old 04-04-08, 03:31 PM   #15
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Matthew Etherington
Barton
Roy Carroll
Grant Brebner

All guesses, of course
Dont know how you managed to come up with Grant Brebner

But the other 3 could easily make up 50k in 2 weeks wages so that wouldnt make sense would it
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Old 04-04-08, 03:39 PM   #16
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Dont know how you managed to come up with Grant Brebner

But the other 3 could easily make up £50k in 2 weeks wages so that wouldnt make sense would it
They may, or may not have been red herrings
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Old 04-04-08, 03:55 PM   #17
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You have to think it is someone like Steve Claridge who has been around a lot of clubs rather than a big name.
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Old 04-04-08, 04:01 PM   #18
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Nah, Claridge is loaded
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Old 04-04-08, 04:04 PM   #19
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Nah, Claridge is loaded
Wasn't suggesting him as such - more the type of player he exemplifies i.e. an older journeyman player.
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Old 04-04-08, 04:08 PM   #20
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Old 04-04-08, 04:24 PM   #21
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This thread has more baseless speculation and guesswork than a government dossier on Iraqi WMD.
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Suppose you have a physicist and a sociologist standing at the side of a field, observing a set of events unfolding on the field. The physicist does [describes] it using the terminology of mass and velocity and frequency of radiation and the rest. And the sociologist does it by describing it as a rugby match.



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Old 04-04-08, 04:34 PM   #22
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This thread has more baseless speculation and guesswork than a government dossier on Iraqi WMD.
Considerably less riding on it though.
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Old 04-04-08, 04:48 PM   #23
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Considerably less riding on it though.
Yup. Mind you, I'm not sure it's not potentially libellous.
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Suppose you have a physicist and a sociologist standing at the side of a field, observing a set of events unfolding on the field. The physicist does [describes] it using the terminology of mass and velocity and frequency of radiation and the rest. And the sociologist does it by describing it as a rugby match.



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Old 04-04-08, 05:41 PM   #24
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Francis Jeffers

According to a real good source
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Old 04-04-08, 06:59 PM   #25
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Francis Jeffers

According to a real good source
How would he go about ensuring his team lost, though? Its more likely to be a goalkeeper, or defender surely.
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Old 04-04-08, 09:21 PM   #26
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Here's a list of ex-Premiership footballers that have been sent off in the past two years.

EPL
Darren Ambrose (Charlton)
Celestine Babayaro (Newcastle)
Khalid Boulahrouz (Chelsea)
Jean Alain Boumsong (Newcastle)
Gary Breen (Sunderland)
Steven Caldwell (Sunderland)
Andrew Cole (Manchester City)
Bernardo Corradi (Manchester City)
Kenny Cunningham (Birmingham)
Ousmane Dabo (Manchester City)
Edgar Davids (Tottenham)
Paul Dickov (Blackburn)
Doriva (Middlesbrough)
Ugo Ehiogu (Middlesbrough)
Duncan Ferguson (Everton)
Keith Gillespie (Sheffield Utd)
Fitz Hall (Wigan Athletic)
Muzzy Izzet (Birmingham)
Andreas Johansson (Wigan Athletic)
Stephen Jordan (Manchester City)
Luis Garcia (Liverpool)
Maniche (Chelsea)
Hidetoshi Nakata (Bolton)
Chris Powell (Watford)
Tamas Priskin (Watford)
Nigel Quashie (WBA)
Arjen Robben (Chelsea)
Osei Sankofa (Charlton)
Mohamed Sissoko (Liverpool)
Sam Sodje (Reading)
Ben Thatcher (Charlton)
Nico Vaesen (Birmingham)
Andrew Welsh (Sunderland)
Stephen Wright (Sunderland)

SPL
Willo Flood (Dundee Utd)
Chris Killen (Hibernian)
Neil Lennon (Celtic)
Lee McCulloch (Rangers)
Filipe Morais (Hibernian)
Christian Nade (Hearts)
Dean Shiels (Hibernian)
Michael Stewart (Hearts)
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Old 04-04-08, 09:23 PM   #27
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Out of those players, one of the players is in the Sporting Chance clinic.
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Old 04-04-08, 09:27 PM   #28
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Out of those players, one of the players is in the Sporting Chance clinic.
Probably Keith Gillespie.
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Old 04-04-08, 09:29 PM   #29
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It has to be someone influential to persuade two players to get booked.

EDIT: Please can it be Duncan Ferguson
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Old 04-04-08, 09:52 PM   #30
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Ex Premiership player is it?

Thought it might have been Gerrard against United away in one of our matches there in the last 3-4 years.
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Old 04-04-08, 09:56 PM   #31
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Sometimes Marky you really ask for it.
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Old 04-04-08, 10:25 PM   #32
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You have to think it is someone like Steve Claridge who has been around a lot of clubs rather than a big name.
yup, he has had gambling debts for a long time, not as loaded as V thinks he is.
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Old 04-04-08, 10:36 PM   #33
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Ex Premiership player is it?

Thought it might have been Gerrard against United away in one of our matches there in the last 3-4 years.
Don't be a tit. Dudek maybe though.
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Old 05-04-08, 01:36 AM   #34
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Ex Premiership player is it?

Thought it might have been Gerrard against United away in one of our matches there in the last 3-4 years.
Is it definitely an ex-Premiership player?

On a completely unconnected subject, did anyone see the pictures of Phil Neville's house this week?
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Old 05-04-08, 02:11 AM   #35
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From my understanding the player is ex-premiership and the match was lower league e.g Championship/League 1/League 2

P.S Marky, your a tit
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Old 05-04-08, 08:37 PM   #36
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On a completely unconnected subject, did anyone see the pictures of Phil Neville's house this week?
Yep, not bad is it. I went round the other week with the estate agent and ended up putting an offer in. Fingers crossed.
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Old 05-04-08, 08:44 PM   #37
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Is it definitely an ex-Premiership player?

On a completely unconnected subject, did anyone see the pictures of Phil Neville's house this week?
Ye, I tried to buy the cage opposite for my dog.
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Old 05-04-08, 09:50 PM   #38
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Ex Premiership player is it?

Thought it might have been Gerrard against United away in one of our matches there in the last 3-4 years.
Stop bringing your agenda into irrelevant threads please Marky, it only fucks people off.
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Old 05-04-08, 10:53 PM   #39
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Stop bringing your agenda into irrelevant threads please Marky, it only fucks people off.
Plenty of people on this forum fuck me off
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Old 07-04-08, 03:34 PM   #40
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Stop bringing your agenda into irrelevant threads please Marky.
I doubt that was a serious post. It made me smile when I saw it. I know Marky is not Stevie G's biggest fan, and I have some reservations myself (while still appreciating the player's value to us), but to suggest Stevie's name here is clearly absurd ... and I credit Marky with a good deal of nous, even though he often does his best to hide it.
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