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Macarthur Bulls captain Ulises Dávila one of three A-League players arrested in explosive betting corruption allegations

Three Macarthur Bulls A-League stars – including skipper Ulises Davila – were arrested on Friday morning, following an investigation by the Organized Crime Squad into allegations of betting corruption under Strike Force Beaconview.

The investigation revealed that a senior player – believed to be Davila, 33 – allegedly followed instructions from a man – said to be offshore in South America – to arrange for yellow cards to be issued in certain matches in exchange for profits.

Police will claim Davila managed to control the number of warnings – which are given to players by a referee for foul play – during a match against Melbourne Victory on November 24 and a match against Sydney FC on November 9 December.

The other two Macarthur players believed to have been involved in the betting corruption ring have yet to be named.

Police also confirmed that failed attempts to tamper with yellow cards also took place during the matches on April 20 and May 4.

Macarthur Bulls captain Ulises Dávila has been named as one of three A-League players arrested over allegations of betting corruption.

Macarthur Bulls captain Ulises Dávila has been named as one of three A-League players arrested over allegations of betting corruption.

The Mexican-born star joined the Bulls in 2021 from A-League rivals Wellington Phoenix.

The Mexican-born star joined the Bulls in 2021 from A-League rivals Wellington Phoenix.

Following extensive inquiries, at around 6am on Friday, strike force detectives – with the assistance of the Central Metropolitan Area Operational Support Group, Odin – executed a search warrant in South Coogee, where they arrested a 33-year-old man.

He was taken to Mascot police station, where he is expected to be charged with two counts of conduct corrupting the outcome of a bet on an event, and two counts of facilitating conduct corrupting the outcome of a bet on an event.

Simultaneously, strike force detectives – with assistance from the Raptor Squad, Bass Hill Region Enforcement Squad and the North West Metropolitan Operational Support Group – executed three further search warrants in Parramatta, West Hoxton and Emu Plains , in western Sydney.

At the Parramatta address, detectives arrested a 27-year-old man.

He was taken to Parramatta police station, where he is expected to be charged with conduct likely to corrupt the outcome of a bet on an event.

In West Hoxton, detectives arrested a 32-year-old man. He was taken to Campbelltown police station, where he is expected to be charged with conduct likely to corrupt the outcome of a bet on an event.

Detectives from the Organized Crime Squad are working with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Sports Integrity Australia, Football Australia, the Australian Professional Leagues and the NSW Crime Commission as investigations continue.

No charges have been filed at this time.

Three A-League players were arrested on Friday morning, following an investigation by the Organized Crime Squad into allegations of betting corruption under Strike Force Beaconview (stock image)

Three A-League players were arrested on Friday morning, following an investigation by the Organized Crime Squad into allegations of betting corruption under Strike Force Beaconview (stock image)

The football trio are all based in Sydney (stock image)

The football trio are all based in Sydney (stock image)

Davila joined Macarthur in 2021 from A-League rivals Wellington Phoenix and is widely regarded as one of the best players in the competition.

The Mexican-born attacking midfielder was on Chelsea’s books from 2011 to 2015, but failed to make a senior appearance for the Blues.

After leaving England, Devila became a football nomad, plying his trade in the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Mexico and India before moving to New Zealand in 2019.

Football Australia released a statement regarding the arrests on Friday.

“Football Australia has been informed of the arrest of three A-League Men’s players this morning, following an investigation by the NSW Police Organized Crime Squad into allegations of betting corruption under Strike Force Beaconview. The arrested players are expected to appear in court this afternoon.

“The allegations relate to yellow card handling by players associated with a south-west Sydney football club, with incidents allegedly occurring during matches played on November 24, 2023, December 9, 2023, April 20, 2024 and May 4, 2024.

“Football Australia is fully co-operating with the Organized Crime Squad, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Sport Integrity Australia and the NSW Crime Commission in this matter.

“Football Australia will make no further comment at this stage as the investigation is ongoing.”

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) subsequently released their own statement on the matter.

“The APL is aware of the arrest of three A-League players by NSW Police following international law enforcement coordination focused on betting corruption linked to alleged manipulation of yellow card during matches.

“The work to protect the integrity of our game must be unwavering and we are liaising closely with all relevant agencies on this matter. Given the ongoing nature of the investigation and police investigations, we are not able to comment further at this time.

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