FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce has likened match-fixing to a “cancer” that needs to be “stamped out” after two men were charged with conspiracy to fraud that may have included the fixing of World Cup matches.
Six men were arrested earlier in the week on suspicion of fixing league matches in England, with at least three players and an agent -- believed to be ex-Bolton player Delroy Facey -- being bailed by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Singapore national Chann Sankaran, 33, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, 43, who has dual UK and Singapore nationality, have been charged with conspiracy to defraud.
The pair were among the six people arrested, while a seventh person has now also been arrested. The NCA has said that the four other people arrested earlier this week were bailed on Thursday pending further inquiries
It is claimed that match-fixers in Asia have been targeting English games and that one well-known fixer was apprehended on Tuesday evening when he entered the country.
According to the Telegraph, one of the alleged fixers claimed in a covertly recorded conversation that he had rigged World Cup qualifiers, naming Scotland and Republic of Ireland as nations whose results he could influence.
And such a revelation has left Boyce admittedly “very, very concerned.”
“Match-fixing is a very serious problem and is one that has to be tackled at the very highest level. Anyone found guilty will be banned for life,” Boyce told the Telegraph.
“FIFA has many investigators working throughout the world to try to erode the game of this cancer. It has got to be stamped out.
“[FIFA] has got to take this seriously and they’ve got to find out whatever information they possibly can.”
Despite one of the alleged fixer’s claims, the Scottish Football Association and Football Association of Ireland have both stated there was no evidence as of yet to suggest any of their national team matches had been compromised.
The SFA said: “We await communication from the relevant authorities to establish if there is any evidence to substantiate this allegation.
“We have an early-warning system in place to monitor suspicious betting patterns and no issues have been raised in that regard.”
The FAI said: “We have regular contact with this issue with UEFA, Europol and Interpol and none of them have indicated any Irish connection at this stage.”