A former Rotherham United striker became embroiled in the ‘ugly side’ of football by acting as a ‘middle-man’ for match fixers’, a court heard.
Delroy Facey, aged 34, who signed for the Millers in 2006, is said to have ‘cast his net around’ for players willing to take part in a plot to fix lower league matches.
Facey, who also played for Bolton Wanderers in the Premier League, denies conspiracy to commit bribery and is standing trial at Birmingham Crown Court alongside former non-league player Moses Swaibu.
Opening the Crown’s case against the pair, prosecutor Nick Mather told jurors: “Football in this case is really nothing more than a means to an end - it’s an opportunity to make money.
“It’s described sometimes as the beautiful game but football has an ugly side to it as well, and it’s that ugly side we are going to be looking at.”
After explaining to jurors that match-fixers Chann Sankaran and Krishna Ganeshan were found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery at a previous trial, Mr Mather alleged that Swaibu was one of the players they had tried to corrupt.
Sankaran and Ganeshan, both from the Far East, were at the centre of the conspiracy, the court heard, having travelled to Britain with the specific purpose of fixing matches.
The Crown alleges that the plot - which aimed to profit from rigged bets - targeted the lower leagues because of the high level of scrutiny surrounding the Premier League.
Describing Facey’s alleged role in the conspiracy, Mr Mather added: “He was a middleman, a fixer. He was somebody who cast his net around to find players who might be willing to take part in match-fixing.”
By the time of the alleged conspiracy in November 2013, Mr Mather told the court, Facey was earning considerably less than he did at the height of his career, when he was on £65,000 a week.
“That may well have been his motivation, the prosecution say, for what took place.”
The trial continues.