Thursday Kickoff: Match-Fixing scandal in England; Messi progressing with injury recovery; and more

Thursday Kickoff: Match-Fixing scandal in England; Messi progressing with injury recovery; and more

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Thursday Kickoff: Match-Fixing scandal in England; Messi progressing with injury recovery; and more

EnglandFansWembley1-Chile (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

For those who thought that soccer in England was immune to match fixing, it seems that they were wrong.

According to an investigative report from English newspaper, the Telegraph, six people have been arrested by the National Crime Agency, a British organization similar to the FBI, on suspicion of match-fixing. Among the six arrested include three players, with reports that one of the players is Delroy Facey, a former Premier League player with Bolton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion.

The report states that the fixers were involved in rigging lower level games in England, claiming that they could make hundreds of thousands of dollars for their bosses in Asia, who would place bets on Asian-based soccer betting sites. One fixer, from Singapore, claimed that he could manipulate a game for as little as £50,000 ($81,720), and that he would send money to players whenever they needed it.

“So I talk to them. Double confirm,” the Singaporean fixer told an undercover agent in broken English, via the Telegraph. “I also tell them, I tell … this [is] what I want … Because simple, I commit myself and they commit. So you tell me how many goals … Give me at least five … either 3-2, 4-0 or zero, … for me four is enough.

“So, so, the first, first 45 minutes, the result must be two-zero or 1-1. That’s two goal. More than enough for me. In the second 45 minutes, so two-zero. Total, the whole game must be have four-zero or 3-1 or 2-2. As long as the total.”

Here are some more stories to get your Thursday started:

MESSI MAKING PROGRESS IN INJURY RECOVERY

Barcelona star Lionel Messi’s recovery from a hamstring injury is going according to plan.

The Spanish club released an update on the 26-year-old forward, saying that he’s set to continue the next stage of his rehab in Buenos Aires in his home nation of Argentina. Team doctor Ricard Pruna and physio Elvio Paulorroso will meet up with Messi in mid-December to oversee the final stages of his recovery.

Messi torn his hamstring muscle on November 10 against Real Betis, with Barcelona giving the Argentine National Team striker a conservative recovery period so that he returns to full health by the new year. Despite the numerous niggling injuries so far this season, Messi has still scored 14 goals in 16 games in all competitions for the Catalan club.

QUICK KICKS

Bayern Munich will be without their captain, Philipp Lahm, for the next two matches after he suffered a thigh strain in Bayern’s Champions League victory in Moscow. (REPORT)

FIFA have rejected an appeal from the Ukrainian Football Federation over discrimination from the fans, meaning that the next Ukraine National Team match will be played without fans and Ukraine can’t play at the Arena Lviv from now until 2018. (REPORT)

AS Monaco forward Radamel Falcao is set to miss this Saturday’s Ligue 1 match against Rennes with a thigh injury. (REPORT)

Brazilian club Flamengo won their third Copa do Brazil title with a 3-1 aggregate victory over Atletico Paranaense. (REPORT)

FIFA have confirmed South Africa’s 1-0 victory against Spain despite the latter nation using seven substitutes instead of the agreed upon six. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see more match-fixing arrests coming in the future in England? Do you believe games are being fixed in England all across the tiers of the game? Do you see Messi returning by the new year.

Share your thoughts below.

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