By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Thirteen people including former Super Eagles defender Sam Sodje and his brother, Akpo, arrested in relation to spot-fixing in football have been released, the National Crime Agency (NCA) has confirmed.
The group, including six players from League One outfit Preston North End, were detained in April over the allegations.
However, the NCA have announced that all 13 individuals have now been released.
“As a result of recent adverse judicial comment during a trial where criminal proceedings were stayed, the NCA has decided to release from bail thirteen subjects arrested in relation to a football match spot-fixing investigation so that further enquiries can be undertaken,” a statement on the NCA’s official website read.
Preston released a statement of their own regarding the matter.
“In April of this year a number of our players were very publicly arrested in connection with a wider investigation into ‘spot-fixing’ in football.
“At the time, they were bailed with a date for answering bail subsequently set for Wednesday July 30, 2014.
“We have been informed that all of our players have been released from bail and are no longer under any form of formal arrest procedure. There will be no further comment on this matter.”
Sam Sodje in an exclusive interview with Complete Sports published on Christmas day last year ( 25 December 2013), exonerated himself from any wrong-doing despite the video that went viral on TV and on the social media where he claimed to have the ability to fix games, highlighting his past deeds.
Sodje, according to the video, also insisted he could fix matches of the 2014 World Cup.
But the one-time Frangers of Warri central defender told Complete Sports that he was “framed up” and that the truth will be revealed in due course, adding that his family’s detractors were out to destroy the good works of his family’s Sodje Foundation geared towards helping the less fortunate.
Sam’s brother and Eagles star at the 2002 World Cup, Efe, insisted then that the family’s legal counsel was working round the clock to clear their names from the scandal.