Macarthur FC’s captain, Ulises Davila, and teammates Kearyn Baccus and Clayton Lewis, have been arrested for allegedly participating in a betting scheme to manipulate yellow cards. The scandal, believed to be masterminded by Davila’s South American connection, involved paying younger teammates up to $10,000 to deliberately receive yellow cards.

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The NSW Police, who have been investigating since December 2023 with assistance from British authorities, claim the scheme resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in winnings. Yellow cards were allegedly manipulated during matches on November 24 and December 9, with unsuccessful attempts in games on April 20 and May 4.

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 16: Ulises Dávila of the Bulls poses for a portrait during a Macarthur FC A-League media opportunity at Fairfield Showgrounds on November 16, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Assistant Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald emphasized the betrayal felt by fans and the sport, noting the severe consequences of such actions. “Yellow cards and the subsequent penalties that arise out of those yellow cards could change the result of that game,” he said.

The club, shocked by the allegations, expressed their commitment to cooperating with authorities. Chief Executive Sam Krslovic stated, “Integrity of our game is a foundation pillar, and we will work closely with all relevant agencies on this matter.”

The arrested players, yet to be formally charged, are expected to face counts of engaging in conduct that corrupts a betting outcome of an event. They are likely to be bailed before initial court appearances.

Macarthur FC, in the A-League Men’s competition since 2020-21, finished this season in fifth place but was knocked out by Sydney FC in the elimination final. The club and the broader football community now face the challenge of addressing this serious breach of integrity.