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Police launch second UK match-fixing probe

LONDON (Reuters) - The National Crime Agency has launched a second probe into alleged match-fixing in English soccer after a Sunday newspaper claimed a player told an undercover reporter he could guarantee certain events in a Championship (second division) match.

"The NCA can confirm that the Sun on Sunday has passed material from its own investigation to the National Crime Agency," it said in a statement.

"An active NCA investigation is now underway and we are working closely with the Football Association and the Gambling Commission. Six people are in custody and are being questioned by NCA officers. We cannot comment further at this stage."

The newspaper said it had evidence of a player saying he arranged a booking in a recent Championship match in which another received a 30,000 pounds ($49,100) payment for getting a yellow card.

The same player allegedly boasted he could also "rig" Premier League games.

The Football League said it treated "any allegations of criminal activity in our competitions with the utmost seriousness".

"Given that there is an ongoing police investigation into this matter, we cannot comment further at this time. Although we would encourage anyone with any evidence to report it to the police," chief executive Shaun Harvey said in a statement.

"We will be giving our full assistance to the police during their investigation."

In a separate match-fixing investigation, four people have been charged, including two players from an English sixth tier semi-professional team, in connection with an alleged international illegal betting syndicate.

Michael Boateng and Hakeem Adelakun, both 22 and from Whitehawk FC in Brighton, along with Chann Sankaran, a 33-year-old Singapore national, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, a 43-year-old with dual UK and Singapore nationality, were charged with conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law.

Earlier this year, an inquiry by European police forces uncovered a global betting scam run from Singapore.

About 680 suspicious matches, including in the European Champions League and qualifying for the World Cup and European Championships, were identified in the investigation - although pundits said many of the games were already known about.

The last major match-fixing scandal in England occurred in the mid-1960s when 10 players were found guilty.

($1 = 0.6115 British pounds)

(Writing by Justin Palmer, editing by Amlan Chakraborty and Toby Davis)

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