England’s World Cup qualifying group has been hit by match-fixing allegations after Lithuania’s 2-0 victory over Malta was investigated by FIFA officials, report The Sun.
The Sun report that both sides were alerted over “suspicious betting patterns” before they took to the pitch earlier this month. The tabloid believes that FIFA officials entered both dressing rooms prior to the match and warned that the game could be fixed.
There’s no suggestion of wrong-doing from the players or match officials, including referee Jesus Gil Manzano.
It is reported that betting syndicates placed millions of pounds on Malta to lose the game by two goals or more and that investigations are underway that could lead to group games being replayed.
Malta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg revealed to The Sun that despite he had no part to play in the scheme, he feared he would be arrested if he made any mistakes that appeared dubious: “I was left thinking, ‘If I f*** up now I might end up in the police station.”
After the recent controversy surrounding Sam Allardyce’s departure, suggestions of match-fixing in their group was the last thing England could have done with. It remains to be seen how this will affect the Three Lions and the rest of the group.