Ex-Premier League player jailed at fixing trial

LONDON, April 29 (Reuters) - Former English Premier League striker Delroy Facey was jailed for two and a half years on Wednesday after being found guilty at a match-fixing trial of conspiracy to commit bribery.

Facey, who made 10 top flight appearances for Bolton Wanderers in a journeyman career that included a stint at West Bromwich Albion and ended at Hereford in 2012, was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court after a three-week hearing.

Former non-league player Moses Swaibu was also found guilty and handed a 16 month sentence.

Facey, 35, had been arrested in November 2013 and pleaded not guilty.

The charges were part of an investigation that has already secured the convictions of Singaporean Chann Sankaran, Sri Lanka-born Briton Krishna Ganeshan and Michael Boateng for paying footballers to influence the outcome of games.

Sankaran and Ganeshan were both jailed for five-years in June 2014, while Boateng received a 16 month sentence for conspiracy to bribe.

National Crime Agency lead officer Adrian Hansford said in a statement on Wednesday that the syndicate had deliberately targeted lower leagues "believing that because players earn less they could be more susceptible to taking a bribe.

"The NCA is in no doubt that this was the beginning of a concerted attempt to build a network of corrupt players in the UK," he said.

"That network included Facey, who acted as a conduit for potential targets, and Swaibu, who was recruited to expand the network further."

The court heard that Facey had acted as middle-man for the syndicate led by Sankaran and Ganeshan, although there was no evidence of any matches actually being fixed.

Facey had claimed he was "humouring" the syndicate and did not take them seriously.

However the jury was read transcripts of text messages from Facey to a non-league Hyde FC player, urging him to make some "easy money".

"You guys can't win for shit so you may as well make some peas," Facey had said. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer and Toby Davis)

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