EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka’s yellow card against Leeds is under investigation by the National Crime Agency amid suspicions of a BIG scandal following suspicious betting activity on his booking
- Granit Xhaka was booked for time wasting in Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Leeds
- The FA carried out a six-month investigation into the yellow card in December.
- They have referred the matter to the country’s main anti-organized crime agency.
- The FA was alerted to suspicious betting patterns in relation to the booking.
- There have been no indications of wrongdoing by Arsenal or the player himself.
Granit Xhaka’s mysterious booking in Arsenal’s Premier League win at Leeds last season is under investigation by the National Crime Agency amid suspicions of a major betting scandal.
The FA carried out a six-month investigation and referred the matter to the country’s main anti-organized crime agency in a development that indicates serious concerns about corruption and potential criminality.
The FA opened its investigation after being alerted to suspicious betting patterns related to a yellow card shown to Xhaka towards the end of Arsenal’s 4-1 win at Elland Road on 18 December.
There has never been any suggestion of misconduct by Xhaka or any other Arsenal player.
The alarm was raised by an unusually large bet of around £52,000 made during the match in Xhaka to be booked in the last 10 minutes despite Arsenal leading 4-1.
The Swiss midfielder was booked by referee Andre Marriner for time wasting in the 86th minute for taking a free kick late.
The FA carried out a six-month investigation into Granit Xhaka’s booking against Leeds
The matter of suspicious gambling patterns was referred to the National Crime Agency in a development that indicates serious concern about corruption and potential criminality.
Video footage of the incident shows Xhaka standing on the ball deep in his own half for around 20 seconds with no apparent desire to take the free kick before being booked.
The suspicious bet was placed on a betting exchange, a website that allows users to place bets but also take them from other users, and it was reported shortly after that the bet garnered a payout of around £250,000.
Major bookmakers reported it to the FA due to the sheer amount of money involved and a number of industry sources have said so. sports mail that the sum far exceeded what is usually bet on yellow cards.
Another strange aspect of the incident was that the odds offered on the betting exchange for Xhaka to be booked were higher in the final 10 minutes than before kick-off, also raising integrity concerns.
The suspected bet was placed on the betting exchange that allows users to place bets but also take them from others, and the bet garnered a payout of around £250,000.
The FA has not opened any investigation into Xhaka’s conduct but is believed to have passed on the information it has collected to the National Crime Agency. The 29-year-old has a poor disciplinary record for Arsenal, as he was booked 10 times and sent off twice last season. Xhaka has been booked or sent off in more than a quarter of his games for the club.
Proven cases of spot-fixing are rare in this country, although Lincoln City defender Bradley Wood was suspended for six years in 2018 after being found guilty of deliberately being booked twice during his run to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup the previous season.
Text messages revealed that Wood hatched a plan with seven friends. The conspirators stood to win £10,000 on two different bets, so the money staked would have been a few thousand pounds, much less than on the Arsenal match.
The FA declined to comment.