A striker for Scottish League Two professional football club Elgin City has been accused of involvement in a betting conspiracy along with three other men.
Kane Hester allegedly participated in the scheme with three men from Montrose – Findlay Soutar, Calvin Parrot and Brodie Myers – in order to defraud bet365 of over £13,000 in illegal winnings.
In order to complete the plan, authorities allege Hester deliberately stamped on a Hibernian FC player during a Betfred League Cup match at Borough Briggs stadium, home stadium of Elgin City, on 26 July 2019.
The four men are accused of planning a week in advance 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 conspired to win money ‘by placing bets that Kane Hester would receive a booking by the referee during the match’.
Following Hester’s foul, his three alleged co-conspirators subsequently collected £17,333.32 in payments from bet365, amounting to winnings of £13,583.32.
The charges against Hester come at a time when sporting integrity falls increasingly under the spotlight of international authorities, with the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) revealing earlier this year that suspicious betting activity had risen by 48% between 2019 and 2020.
It was also revealed that during this time period football alone recorded a 25% increase in illicit betting activity and alerts, whilst tennis also recorded significant levels.
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 remarked: “Match-fixing is an issue that is very real and threatens the integrity and credibility of football in many countries around the world.”