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Probe into match-fixing for Scotland v Nigeria game

Police have launched an investigation into alleged attempts to fix Scotland's World Cup friendly against Nigeria.

The alert was flagged up by the National Crime Agency, and concerns the infamous Asian betting market.

Officers from the National Crime Agency are liaising with the Scottish Football Association after the match, to be played at Fulham's Craven Cottage ground, was 'red flagged'.

A Scottish FA spokesman: "We are liaising with the relevant authorities and will prepare for the match as normal."

Officers were understood to have asked world football governing body Fifa to issue an alert over potential attempts to rig the game.

No Scotland players are understood to be involved.

The SFA moved quickly to distance themselves from any involvement in a betting scam surrounding their friendly against Nigeria.

When made aware of the possibility that tomorrow's game had been targeted, the SFA's Integrity officer, Peter McLaughlin, contacted Fifa and informed team manager, Gordon Strachan.

The Scotland match is one of five games being played tomorrow - USA v Azerbaijan, South Korea v Tunisia, Denmark v Sweden and Mexico v Israel are the others - and all of them have been the subject of the alert.

Nigeria - whose home game it is - have previously been the subject of investigations into illegal betting.

It has been confirmed that there has been no unusual activity detected so far, but intelligence has indicated there is reason to 'red-flag' the game.

The Gambling Commission have warned the major betting companies to be on guard against any unusual betting patterns.

The most common illegal betting involves spot-fixing rather than results, for example gambling on when the first corner or throw in will occur.

This can involve a few players rather than an entire team or teams.

It comes less than three weeks before the start of the World Cup in Brazil.

In response to enquiries about the investigation, the National Crime Agency - Britain's equivalent of the FBI - issued this statement: "The NCA will, from time to time, provide operational detail necessary for public re-assurance purposes.

"It does not routinely confirm or deny the existence of specific operations or provide on-going commentary on operational activity."

But, the SFA are adamant this has nothing to do with them or any of their players and their Chief Executive, Stewart Regan, insisted, they are continuing to make preparations for the game.

He said: "We have been liaising with the relevant authorities, the National Crime Agency and Fifa, and will be preparing for the match as normal."

Fifa are currently investigating allegations of match fixing in the World Cup qualifier between Kenya and Nigeria on November 14, 2009.

The Nigerian FA have submitted a video tape to Fifa's investigating body of the game at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani.

It is part of an investigation involving a convicted match-fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal from Singapore, who claims he helped fix the match that saw the Super Eagles beat Kenya 3-2 and book a place at the finals in South Africa 2010.

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