Despite making promises to investigate possibilities of match-fixing after bookmakers stopped taking bets on three Conference clubs last season, the FA hasn’t moved a muscle, the BBC reported Wednesday. Billericay Town, AFC Hornchurch and Chelmsford all said nobody from the FA has approached them since the incident.
Graham Bean, the former head of the FA’s compliance unit, said a failure to follow up was “disgraceful and a dereliction of duty” from the governing body.
“It is my belief that the FA tend to stick their heads in the sand at suggestions of match-fixing and tend to give a perception that they don’t think it actually exists,” he told the BBC. “When I was at the FA, I once raised the idea of having an intelligence hotline, where anonymous contact could be made to report wrongdoing. I was laughed at for the suggestion.”
Now, the chairman of one of the accused clubs is also calling for an investigation.
Billericay Town boss Steve Kent said the information he has makes him believe it is necessary.
“How can they investigate alleged match-fixing involving my club when not a single person from the police, the FA, or the league made any kind of approach to us whatsoever? It’s amazing,” he said. “I’m not saying match-fixing is rife or commonplace, but from the information I have been gathering it certainly warrants an investigation.”
His concern stems from a recent incident in Australia, where four British players were charged with match-fixing while playing for the Melbourne Stars in the Victorian Premier League, in the second division in Australia. Joe Woolley, Reiss Noel, Nick McKoy and David Obaze all joined Melbourne from non-league clubs in England — and Woolley, Noel and McKoy played for Hornchurch.
“When I saw the names involved I was shocked,” Billericay chairman Kent said. “The names I was reading I was so familiar with. Last season, they were all playing at our level. We played against them. That’s what shocked me the most.”
Even Hornchurch chairman Colin McBride agrees that an investigation is necessary, even if it is into his own club.
“It’s surprising the FA didn’t contact us,” he said. “We can’t draw a line under it and we want to move on. That’s the disappointing thing; I think we deserve an answer.”