Pompey have been left ‘shocked and saddened’ by allegations former club defender Sam Sodje was given £70,000 in return for getting himself sent off.
According to an undercover investigation by a national weekly newspaper, Sodje was handed £70,000 by a betting cartel to get sent off during Pompey’s clash with Oldham on February 23.
He was sent off after a linesman saw him punch Oldham’s Jose Baxter in the groin.
Oldham won the match 1-0.
Colin Farmery, spokesman for Portsmouth Football Club, said: ‘Club spokesman Colin Farmery said: ‘If these serious allegations are true then we are extremely shocked and saddened by them, as match-fixing of any type goes to the heart of the integrity of the game.
‘The player in question no longer plays for the club and we have not been contacted by the authorities, but of course we would cooperate fully with any inquiry.’
Guy Whittingham said: ‘I am absolutely shocked and surprised by this.
‘At the time Sam apologised for his sending off and admittedly it was a strange incident, none of us could quite believe what had happened or why he had done it.
‘I didn’t actually see the incident myself, there was an argument which initially involved Yassin Moutaouakil and when things got a bit heated and a lot more players got involved Sam was given a red card.
‘It was only when I saw the replays later on that I saw the punch to their player and the referee had been right to send him off.
‘But of course we never suspected anything like this being possibly behind any it, who would?
‘We were 1-0 down at the time but when the game is tight like that you still think you have a chance to get back into it. The sending off wrecked that.’
The News has attempted to contact the Nigerian player, who is not currently playing with any club, for a comment but Sodje is believed to be in custody while being questioned by officers from the National Crime Agency.
In a statement, the NCA said: ‘The NCA can confirm that the Sun on Sunday has passed material from its own investigation to the National Crime Agency.
‘An active NCA investigation is now underway and we are working closely with the Football Association and the Gambling Commission.
‘Three people are in custody and are being questioned by NCA officers. We cannot comment further at this stage.’
The Football Association, which is in charge of upholding football rules and regulations, confirmed it was working with the NCA following the arrests.