He talks at academies with future stars, hoping to ensure they do not make the same mistakes he did
When Moses Swaibu stands in front of future Premier League players, warning of the dangers of becoming embroiled in match-fixing, he is speaking from experience.
“You do not want to end up in my position, going to prison,” Swaibu recalls telling some of the game’s most famous players in talks at training grounds, “sitting in the cell with someone you once looked up to that played in the Premier League, eating tinned food and a packet of crisps and someone opening your door, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do for 24 hours.”
Swaibu’s educational talks at academies with future stars are about ensuring the current generation of players does not make the same mistakes as him. They are lessons in how a series of fateful mistakes ended up five years ago with him being convicted of conspiracy to bribe lower-league players in England and jailed, along with Delroy Facey, who played as a striker for Bolton.
While the 31-year-old Swaibu began his career at Crystal Palace, he never got to play in the top division, drifting down the leagues before ending up in the fourth professional tier at Lincoln where he met Facey.
His big regret
“Delroy had asked us to come down to his hotel room and he introduced us to these match-fixers that wanted us to throw a game,” Swaibu said in an interview with The Associated Press. “They produced around €60,000 but at that time, everyone turned around and said, ‘No, we’re not going to do it.’ But it was never reported (to the authorities).”
Swaibu regrets that. It set Swaibu on a path that led to spending four months in jail after a judge denounced his and Facey’s behavior as “like a cancer” that could have undermined the fairness of football. Investigators said they were part of a concerted attempt to build a network of corrupt players in Britain.
“They deliberately targeted lower leagues believing that because players earn less, they could be more susceptible to taking a bribe,” National Crime Agency officer Adrian Hansford said.
Swaibu insists no games were ever manipulated but even just offering money to come to meetings with potential fixers is wrong — and he wants players to be aware of that.
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