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Football match fixing scandal: Sam Sodje At Centre of Allegation

Ex-Portmouth manager Guy Whittingham has reacted angrily to claims by Sam Sodje that he deliberately got himself sent off last season to earn a bung from a bookie. Whittingham, who was fired as Pompey manager last month, revealed that Sodje actually apologised to him for the red card offence after the game, a lie that has helped to inflame Whittingham’s reaction.

Sodje, a former Premier League player for Reading, openly boasted that when he punched Oldham's Jose Baxter during last season’s league match, he earned £70,000 from a bung. The claim has been reported in several Sunday newspapers. Sodje was not a first team regular under Whittingham, playing just nine times before he was released from the South Coast side in July, but Whittingham doesn’t see that as an excuse to cheat. “The story came as a total shock," said Whittingham. "It is sickening to see this in the game, particularly when it involves a player and club I managed.”

With the problems that Portsmouth has faced over the last decade, Whittingham’s reaction to a player’s corruption is understandable. “You think of the money he earned from it and the redundancies and people who lost their jobs at Portsmouth over the last few years. I just can't understand Sam's reasons for doing it, especially when you think of all the money in the game.”

Sodje was a player Whittingham signed and one that the 49 year-old manager thought “was a team player” and “decent around the changing room.” The 34 year-old player was released at the end of last season, “for footballing reasons. It was myself and the club who decided to let him go, but not because we suspected any wrong-doing.”

“If anybody wants to talk to me about it, then I'm happy to do so," said Whittingham as "There is certainly nothing to hide." Let’s hope that the National Crime Agency who are investigating the claims and other incidents of match fixing in English football, get to the bottom of this soon.

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