Three found guilty of match-fixing plot
Chann Sankaran and Krishna Ganeshan were convicted of conspiracy to commit bribery at Birmingham Corwn Court, while former Whitehawk FC defender Michael Boateng was also deemed guilty.
Hakeem Adelakun, who also played for Whitehawk, was cleared of the same charge, but the case of fellow player Moses Swaibu will go to a re-trial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict
The five men became the subject of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation following an undercover report by a national newspaper, and surveillance provided enough evidence to secure their conviction, despite the failure of their plot to fix a match between AFC Wimbledon and Dagenham and Redbridge on Novemeber 26.
"The NCA is in no doubt that Ganeshan and Sankaran were at the very beginning of a concerted attempt to build a network of corrupt players in the UK," said NCA branch commander Richard Warner. "Their aim was to influence play so that they could make spot bets and manipulate scorelines to generate large sums of money. They clearly had links to business-like networks overseas.
"This is not sport as a football-loving nation recognises it. It is corruption and bribery linked to serious organised crime, and the NCA is determined to stop criminals benefiting from it.
"The evidence in corruption cases is often either verbal or visual. Unless you are there when money changes hands, or plans are made, that evidence is gone. We had a vital opportunity here to intervene early, secure the evidence to get convictions, and put a stop to Sankaran's and Ganeshan's much wider and more sinister ambitions."
The three men will be sentenced on Friday.