Granit Xhaka’s mysterious booking in Arsenal’s English Premier League win at Leeds last December is the subject of an investigation by the UK National Crime Agency, according to reports.
The English Football Association confirmed in January they were investigating the incident amid suspicious betting patterns.
Xhaka was booked by referee Andre Marriner for time wasting in the 86th minute during a straightforward 4-1 win for Arsenal at Elland Road against Leeds.
With Arsenal cantering to three points, Xhaka was cautioned during the closing stages after he delayed taking a free-kick.
According to Sportsmail, the matter has now been referred to to the UK’s leading organised crime agency, although there is no suggestion that Xhaka or any of his Arsenal temmates are guilty of any wrongdoing.
Suspicions were raised by a wager of nearly £52,000 (N26.5million) placed during the match on Xhaka to be booked in the final 10 minutes. And the gamble earned a pay-out of around £250,000 (N127.9m)
Leading bookmakers reported it to the English FA due to the large amount of money involved and several industry sources said that the sum was far in excess of what is usually wagered on yellow cards.
In addition, the report claims that another bizarre aspect of the incident was that the odds offered on the betting exchange for Xhaka being booked were higher in the final 10 minutes than they had been before kick-off, which also prompted integrity concerns.
The English FA have not opened any investigation into Xhaka’s conduct but are understood to have passed on the information they have gathered to the National Crime Agency.
Xhaka, 29, has a poor disciplinary record for Arsenal, being booked 10 times and sent off twice last season. Xhaka has been booked or sent off in more than a quarter of his matches for the club.