Kane Hester, a striker for Scottish football club Elgin City, has denied involvement in a betting conspiracy to defraud bet365 of £13,583.
The footballer is alleged to have participated in a scheme with three men from Montrose in which he agreed to stamp on a Hibernian FC player in order to get booked by referee Willie Collum in a fixture at Borough Briggs, the home stadium of Elgin City.
After completing the on-pitch foul during the Scottish Betfred League Cup match on 26 July 2019, Hester was handed a yellow card, and his alleged co-conspirators – Findlay Soutar, Calvin Parrot and Brodie Myers – collected £17,333.32 in payments from bet365, winning £13,583.32.
All four men are accused of conspiring a week before the meeting in order for Hester to ‘purposely commit a foul during the course of the match and receive a booking from the referee’.
The striker’s alleged collaborators are accused of placing five separate bets on Hester to be booked during the game, but deny the charges that they planned to win money ‘by placing bets that Kane Hester would receive a booking by the referee during the match’.
All charges are denied by the four men, who are due to appear at Dundee Sheriff Court later this year.
The accusations against the Elgin City striker comes as integrity falls increasingly under the spotlight of international sporting authorities, with the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) revealing this year that football recorded a 25% increase in suspicious betting activity between 2019 to 2020.
In response to the increasing threat posed to football’s integrity by organised crime and betting corruption, FIFA launched its Global Integrity Programme last month, in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Speaking at the time of the launch, FIFA President Gianni Infatino said: “Match-fixing is an issue that is very real and threatens the integrity and credibility of football in many countries around the world.”