Four English players and one Australian official in the Australian second division have been banned from soccer worldwide for over two years by FIFA. The world governing body announced on Wednesday that it had decided to honor Football Federation Australia’s ban until at least Dec. 31, 2015.
All four players — Joe Woolley, Reiss Noel, Nick McKoy and David Obaze — joined the Melbourne Stars in the Victorian Premier League from non-league clubs in England. (Their coach, Zaya Younan, is the other person charged with match-fixing by FFA). Their charges caused a stir in their home country, where officials have been calling for investigations into match-fixing at the non-league level.
“When I saw the names involved I was shocked,” Isthmian League Premier Division club Billericay Town chairman Steve Kent told the BBC. “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.”
Woolley, Noel and McKoy played for AFC Hornchurch, which was in Conference South in 2012. Both Hornchurch and Billericay were relegated at the end of the 2012-13 season.