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Former Hibs player arrested in betting probe

The former Hibernian striker Akpo Sodje has been arrested as part of an investigation into match fixing by the National Crime Agency (NCA) after it acted on information passed to it by a Sunday newspaper.

The 33-year-old spent the 2011-2012 season at Easter Road before leaving for Chinese side Tianjin Teda, although there is no suggestion his arrest has anything to do with his period of time at the Edinburgh club. He is now at Tranmere Rovers.

The League One club said: "Tranmere Rovers Football Club are aware of Sunday newspaper allegations regarding Akpo Sodje. "As this is an ongoing investigation, the club will make no further comment at this time."

The arrest came after the Sun on Sunday, published a story in which an undercover investigator met Sam Sodje - the brother of Akpo Sodje - who allegedly told him he could arrange for footballers in the Championship to get themselves a yellow card in return for 10s of thousands of pounds.

The 34-year-old former Portsmouth player claimed he could rig Premier League games and even said he was preparing to fix matches at next year's World Cup in Brazil.

The Blackburn striker DJ Campbell has also been arrested as part of the investigation. In a statement, the club said: "Following reports in today's national media, Blackburn Rovers can confirm that striker DJ Campbell has been arrested."

It is also alleged that Oldham player Cristian Montano failed to get a yellow card in return for money in a match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on October 22 and offered to take part in another rigging incident. In all, six people were arrested and bailed until April.

An NCA spokesman said: "The NCA can confirm that the Sun on Sunday has passed material from its own investigation to the National Crime Agency. An active NCA investigation is now under way and we are working closely with the Football Association and the Gambling Commission."

The Oldham manager Lee Johnson called for unity at his club in the wake Montano's arrest. He said: "Anybody who saw that report will have been devastated and sick to their stomachs. However, we have to let the authorities do their job and duties, and we cannot prejudice that."

Portsmouth said they would be holding a meeting with players today.Their chief executive Mark Catlin said: "All you can do is check the people around you, notice anything suspicious and inform the players how serious an issue this is.

"We will be doing that tomorrow as a club, speaking to the players and saying we have to be self-policing. If anyone sees or hears anything suspicious it's not a case of dropping a friend in it, it's about upholding the integrity of the sport."

The NCA is already carrying out a separate investigation into an alleged international illegal betting syndicate. Michael Boateng and Hakeem Adelakun, both 22, were charged last week with conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law.

The pair, who played for Conference South club Whitehawk FC in Brighton, were dismissed by their club and will appear in court tomorrow.

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