Brown under the microscope

In the UK, the Football Association (FA) has opened an investigation into betting patterns relating to Monday’s FA Cup tie between Arsenal FC and Oxford United.

a yellow card received by Oxford defender Ciaron Brown

Arsenal, the current English Premier League leader, unsurprisingly emerged with a comfortable 3-0 victory in the clash. What seemed more peculiar to the FA were betting patterns surrounding a yellow card received by Oxford defender Ciaron Brown – the incident at the center of the new investigation.

Both teams are yet to release a statement or provide comment on the matter. Notably, Arsenal was at the center of an FA investigation into questionable yellow card bets around this time last year.

The case at hand

According to the Daily Mail, the FA possesses a “dossier of evidence regarding supposed corruption.” In an apparent smoking gun, the FA has reportedly uncovered a string of text messages that stated Brown would pick up a yellow card during the match.

firmly cemented his name in the referee’s book

Brown did just what the conniving texters suspected, earning himself a yellow card in the 59th minute after tossing Eddie Nketiah to the ground during an aerial duel. He firmly cemented his name in the referee’s book by throwing the ball away and pushing Arsenal’s Fabio Vieira after the challenge:

Reports also indicate that at least one bettor made out with an 8/1 profit betting on the market, causing one sportsbook to lose £1,600 ($1,943) on a £200 ($243) wager. As of yet, it’s unknown how many gamblers cashed in on Brown’s yellow card.

The Daily Mail also claims that witnesses at the game saw Arsenal fans celebrating Brown’s booking and claiming they had won hundreds of pounds.

Gambling crimes and upcoming events

The FA has had a lot of work to do recently. In 2022, it unearthed the troubling gambling history of star Brentford striker and England international Ivan Toney, who allegedly committed more than 250 infractions against gambling bylaws.

S.L. Benfica is being investigated for potential match-fixing

Gambling-related problems are not just an English problem, however. Just a few days ago news surfaced that Portuguese side S.L. Benfica is under investigation for potential match-fixing offenses committed between the years 2016 and 2020.

Cases like these are of great concern in the bubbling gambling market. A 2021 Sportradar report deemed soccer the sport most at-risk to external interference.