(Reuters) - Seven people suspected of manipulating soccer results in at least two Brazilian state leagues have been arrested, officials said on Wednesday.The match-fixing ring involved players, coaches, agents and presidents of clubs in the second and third divisions of the Sao Paulo state championship, said Kelly Cristina Sacchetto Cesar de Andrade, one of the police officers leading the investigation dubbed Operation Game Over.
Those arrested Wednesday morning in raids in four Brazilian states were believed to have worked with betting syndicates in Malaysia, China and Indonesia, Sacchetto said.
“The first phase of this operation is to stop those being investigated, listen to them, and gather more evidence to begin a second phase so we know the exact extent of this gang, if it affects other tournaments, championships or sports,” Sacchetto told reporters.
Sacchetto said the investigation began at the start of 2015 and is also examining possible match-fixing in tournaments held in the northern and northeastern regions of Brazil.
Brazil has five regions, with the best known clubs in the more developed south of the country.
A total of 11 first division matches were replayed in 2005 after one of the country’s top referees was accused of taking pay off from betting syndicates.
Reporting by Andrew Downie in Sao Paulo; Editing by Andrew Both