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The Roar


Macarthur FC captain Ulises Davila among three charged as betting scandal rocks A-League

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17th May, 2024
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The A-League is reeling on the eve of its showpiece finals campaign after NSW Police charged three players with alleged betting offences.

The players have been named as Ulises Davila, the Macarthur FC captain, who was arrested in South Coogee, plus Clayton Lewis, arrested in Parramatta, and Kearyn Bacchus – brother of Socceroo Keanu – who was arrested in West Hoxton.

Police have also implicated a fourth player, but he is not currently in NSW, with officers indicating that they will apply for extradition if he does not return to the state.

Reports in the Sydney Morning Herald link the arrests with a South American individual who was arranging for yellow cards to be given in games.

Matches between Macarthur and Melbourne Victory in November and Sydney FC in December are under suspicion for bookings having been awarded, with further games in April and May cited as failed attempts. Davila was booked against both Victory and Sydney FC.

Peter Faux, detective superintendent with the NSW Organised Crime Squad, said that there was no suspicion at this time that gambling had taken place in Australia or that any other A-League teams were involved.

“Between November and May of this year, we’re alleging that a senior player within an A-League team was in communication with a South American person offshore, who we are referring to as a controller or co-ordinator.

“That person was requesting that senior member of an A-League team to ensure that certain events occurred within games to permit illegal gambling on those events occurring.


“We’re further alleging that the senior player within that team then recruited several other members of their team to ensure other acts or incidents occurred within specific games, allowing the illegal gambling of those incidents or events.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that the actions of only several people have severely damaged the integrity of a game that so many people around the world love and so many people are passionate about.

“These people are fortunate to be in a position where, in some cases, they’re paid a lot of money to do something that they love and unfortunately they have taken advantage of that position and brought down the integrity, not only of themselves and the clubn that they play for but the sport.

“This investigation initiated from suspicious betting activity offshore. I want to make that clear: we haven’t identified any betting within Australia at this stage, all the betting has been offshore, predominately in South America.

“At this stage, we can conclusively say and are alleging that, in relation to one of the matches, there’s multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars being paid out.”

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mike Fitzgerald added that the damage to the sport was massive.

“While $10,000 may seem a lot of money to a young sportsperson, we will advise that is incredibly insignificant when you consider the damage that being charged with this offence and convicted results in, the damage to the young person’s reputation, damage to their club and their reputation, their livelihood and their future livelihood,” he said.


“More importantly, it affects the confidence and trust their supporters have in these young sportspeople that they will always play to the best of their ability.”

The investigation took place with the assistance of British police, who tipped the NSW Organised Crime Squad off.

The anti-corruption authority, Sport Integrity Australia, said they were also involved.

“Sport Integrity Australia can confirm the agency’s involvement in this matter,” read a statement.

“SIA and ACIC acted on information provided by a UK agency and worked with relevant Australian bodies resulting in a referral to NSW Police.

“This is a matter for NSW Police and as it is before the courts SIA will not be making further comment.”


Macarthur themselves have actually taken an anti-gambling stance in the past, linking with GambleAware NSW as part of a campaign against sports betting.

“We are very shocked,” said Sam Krslovic, Macarthur CEO, to the Herald.

“Obviously, we need the courts to run their process. We’ll comment when appropriate as things develop.”

Both Football Australia (FA) and the Australian Professional Leagues (APL), who run the A-League, have commented that they are assisting police.

“Football Australia has been made aware of the arrests of three A-League Men players this morning, following an investigation by the NSW Police Force Organised Crime Squad into alleged betting corruption under Strike Force Beaconview,” said a Football Australia statement.


“The arrested players are expected to face court this afternoon. The allegations pertain to yellow card manipulation by players associated with a south-western Sydney football club, with incidents reportedly occurring during games played on 24 November 2023, 9 December 2023, 20 April 2024, and 4 May 2024.

“Football Australia is fully co-operating with the Organised Crime Squad, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Sport Integrity Australia and the NSW Crime Commission in this matter.

“Football Australia will provide no further comments at this stage as the investigation is ongoing.”

The APL statement added: “The APL is aware of the arrests of three A-League players by NSW Police as a result of international law enforcement coordination focussed on betting corruption related to alleged yellow card manipulation in games.

“The work to protect the integrity of our game must be unwavering and we are liaising closely with all relevant agencies on this matter. Given the ongoing nature of the investigation and Police enquiries we are unable to comment further at this time.”