Player jailed in match-fixing plot warns PL stars of dangers
LONDON (AP) - When Moses Swaibu stands in front of future Premier League players and warns of the dangers of getting involved in match fixing, he speaks from experience.
"You don't want to end up in my position and go to jail," recalls Swaibu, telling some of the game's most famous players in conversations on the training ground. "To sit in the cell with someone you looked up to when he was playing in the Premier." League, canned food and a pack of chips and someone opening your door and telling you what to and shouldn't do for 24 hours.
"And then I would say the penny is falling. But then I'll turn around and say that this is the worst case scenario. The best case scenario is that you play in the Premier League and everyone is happy."
Swaibus Academic Academic Talks with Future Stars is about making sure the current generation of gamers aren't making the same mistakes he is. They show how a series of fateful mistakes ended five years ago when he was convicted of conspiracy to bribe lower division players in England and jailed along with Delroy Facey, who played for Bolton as a Premier League striker.
While 31-year-old Swaibu began his career at Crystal Palace, he never played in the major leagues and drifted down the leagues before ending up in professional fourth in Lincoln, where he met Facey.
"Delroy asked us to come to his hotel room and he introduced us to these match fixers who wanted us to throw a game," Swaibu said in an interview with The Associated Press. "They made around 60,000 euros, but at that point everyone turned around and said," No, we won't do it. "But it was never reported to (the authorities)."
Swaibu regrets that.
It set Swaibu on a path that resulted in his four months in jail after a judge denounced his and Facey's behavior as "like a cancer" that could have undermined the fairness of football. Investigators said they were part of a concerted effort to build a network of corrupt players in the UK.
"They purposely targeted lower leagues because they believe that players who earn less are more prone to taking bribes," said Adrian Hansford, officer with the National Crime Agency.
Swaibu insists that no games have ever been rigged, but it is wrong to just offer money to get to meetings with potential fixers - and he wants players to be aware of this.
"A lot of people probably couldn't understand what I was going through," said Swaibu, "that I was faced with a lack of pay, poor relationships with managers, traveling around the country and not knowing when I was coming." paid without knowing how I'll pay my bills. There are so many variables to consider when actually making a decision. "
Fixers target at-risk players, not necessarily to manipulate the actual outcome, but for moments within games.
"They may know you have a gambling problem or want to place bets, they'll take your number, they might add you on Instagram, they might add you on social media," Swaibu said. "Then, before you know it, you I think you've made a friend, but that friend almost cares for you that one day he may ask you, 'Have you ever thought about getting a yellow or red card?"
The financial uncertainties in the lower professional leagues caused by the coronavirus pandemic could lead players to make money even more.
"So, Mr. Match-Fixer or Mr. Corruptor, who knows the latest news and media inside out, he almost has a pool of people to manipulate," Swaibu said. “So he can't turn around and say, 'I'm going to give you 10, 20, 30 grand (a thousand pounds). 'He can turn around and say,' OK, when you come to this meeting I'll give you £ 1,000 but I don't want you to do anything. '”
“That in itself is almost a form of grooming, because it makes you say, 'Well, go to the meeting. It's not really illegal, is it? "
This could ultimately lead to a gamer's career ending in the kind of banned life Swaibu was given.
"While I was in prison talking to other prisoners ... I realized that this is a place I could never be again," said Swaibu. "And it's almost like a worst nightmare when someone could have it." . So I knew if I got out of jail, whatever I had done to go to jail, or get from point A to point B and be locked up in a cell, now I have to come out and do the exact opposite and understand what are values, what are ethics, what are morals, what is integrity. "
Now he is welcomed to England's biggest clubs to teach wholesome lessons from someone with a painful experience where he can get caught up in a world of illegal betting on the game.
"At least they have our training now," he said. "There are Premier League players who play an active role today and have been approached by match manipulators, but they did the right thing, what we should have done that would not have resulted in us going to jail."
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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