News & Current Affairs
18 July 2014
English players brought to semi-professional Victorian Premier League admit throwing matches for betting syndicate
Segaran "Gerry" Subramaniam
Footballers players yelled "don't save it" to their goalkeeper in a desperate bid to throw a Victorian Premier League game, a court has heard.
An international match fixing syndicate wanted the Southern Stars to lose 4-0 but the team was only two goals down, according to documents presented in Melbourne's magistrates court on Thursday.
English defender Reiss Noel received phone calls throughout the match demanding the team concede four goals to Green Gully in the semi-professional league.
"I remember getting a call when we were losing 2-0 and the boss saying 'this better fucking happen'," Noel said in a statement to police.
He went behind the net to pass the message on to keeper Joe Woolley.
"I would be yelling to Joe that we don't have long, we need goals, don't save it," he said.
It wasn't enough, as the Stars only managed to lose 3-0.
Noel said he felt threatened and he screamed at teammate Ryan Hervel in the car after the game because he hadn't done what they'd asked him to.
"I was stressed and said that we have to do as they instruct as we basically don't know how much money they have lost and how they would react," Noel said.
The local ringleader, Segaran "Gerry" Subramaniam, told midfielder Nicholas McKoy a few days after the game there was pressure to get the right result in the next game.
"He said this was like life and death and [a syndicate member] had lost a lot of money and we needed to get it back," McKoy told police.
Other times they were more successful.
Woolley let in two easy goals against Oakleigh Cannons on the way to a 4-0 loss, while some heavy defeats opened up longs odds of a 0-0 draw against Richmond, which was achieved.
Woolley said the overseas players were promised cash bonuses if they followed the syndicate's instructions.
"I knew it was wrong but they were going to give us accommodation. We all thought it was a bit strange but we were going to use it to our advantage," Woolley told police.
The syndicate was haphazard in how and when it paid players.
Noel was meant to get $2000 a month for living expenses and $3000 for each fixed game but the money didn't always arrive.
That was despite betting monitors Sportsradar reporting gamblers made huge profits gambling on the results of the fixed games.
Magistrate Duncan Reynolds heard on Thursday that it was unclear how much the players knew about the match fixing when they joined agency Match World Sports Limited in London.
David Obaze, an English defender, was fined and banned from the game indefinitely after admitting trying to fix games. His defence lawyer Scott Johns told the court his client planned to push for an A-League spot when he flew to Australia.
"There's a degree of preying upon the players," Mr Johns said.
Reynolds agreed Obaze had not come to the country to fix games.
"I take the view that he was enticed by the corrupting influences imported into the club. He was not strong enough to walk away," Reynolds said.
Two other English players, centre back Reiss Noel and keeper Joe Woolley have also been fined and banned along with Subramaniam. McKoy and Australian coach Zia Younan are awaiting court appearances.