Due to allegations that they manipulated yellow cards, three players from the A-League face a ban because of illegal betting.

The New South Wales Police Organized Crime Squad Gaming Unit investigated the suspected gambling-related manipulation of yellow cards. As a result, Macarthur FC captain Ulises Davila, as well as Clayton Lewis, and Kearyn Baccas were all prosecuted.

Investigators said the three were involved in a betting operation; that reportedly resulted in the offshore payout of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Thus, they were detained on Friday. Interestingly, Chelsea signed Davila when he was a promising young player in 2011.

However, now he’s one of three players the authorities are looking into in connection with an A-League betting scam. According to the police, a person ordered the 33-year-old midfielder to time the occurrence of yellow cards in A-League games. The unnamed person is most likely located in South America. Those supposed yellow cards came in games last year from Nov. 24 to Dec. 9.

On Nov. 24, while playing for Macarthur, Davila picked up a yellow card. Afterward, on Dec. 9, he earned another second yellow card in a match against Sydney FC. The period from April 20 to May 4 saw many unsuccessful efforts to regulate the quantity of cards.

What did local police say?

On Friday, deputies from Sydney’s Mascot police station questioned the Mexican. Subsequently, he faced two charges of corrupt behavior and two counts of assisting criminal conduct involving betting results.

According to police, they found evidence that Davila was paying two other players $10,000 each for getting yellow cards on purpose. Strike Force Beaconview allegedly found betting corruption including “yellow card manipulation,” according to the police.

“Investigations revealed a senior player was allegedly taking instructions from a man – believed to be offshore in South America – to organize for yellow cards to occur during certain games in exchange for profit,” they said in a statement.

The effect these players’ actions have had on the integrity of the game is much greater than the money, according to Assistant Commissioner Fitzgerald. “We will allege that the giving out of four yellow cards and the subsequent penalties that arose out of those yellow cards could in fact change the way that result of that game went,” he said.

“While $10,000 may seem a lot of money to a young sportsperson, we will advise that is incredibly insignificant when you consider the damage that being charged with this offence and conviction results in. We will allege that these instance in November and December 2023, that these players betrayed the trust of their supporters.”

What did Macarthur FC say?

Macarthur FC, meanwhile, expressed their disbelief in a short statement. “Integrity of our game is a foundation pillar and we will work closely with all relevant agencies on this matter,” they said.

The head of the organized crime team, Detective Peter Faux, said that all the relevant betting seems to have taken place abroad. They were mostly in South America, based on their investigations so far. He continued by saying that they were still in the process of contacting betting companies all around the globe.

“In relation to one of the matches, there’s multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars being paid out. These people are fortunate to be in a position where they’re, in some cases, paid a lot of money to do something they love,” he told the media.