Clayton Lewis’ All Whites career in jeopardy after fixing arrest

Publish Date
Monday, 20 May 2024, 8:08AM

By Alex Powell

All Whites midfielder Clayton Lewis has put his international career at the very least at risk, following allegations of an A-League spot fixing scandal, says ex-New Zealand international David Chote.

On Friday, three players were arrested and charged by New South Wales police, after co-ordinated efforts to manipulate A-League matches, playing for Macarthur FC.

The three players - Lewis, club captain Ulises Davila and Kearyn Baccus - are alleged to have deliberately picked up yellow cards, in order to manipulate betting markets, in a move co-ordinated out of South America.

A fourth player is also sought by NSW police, but was out of state at the time of the dawn arrests on Friday.

While spot fixing and match fixing in football isn’t new, having it happen in the A-League does hit close to home for Kiwi fans.

Friday’s events overshadowed arguably the biggest club match in New Zealand history, as the Wellington Phoenix hosted the Melbourne Victory in the second leg of the A-League’s semi-final on Saturday.

And for Chote, seeing a current New Zealand representative allegedly involved is a bitter pill to swallow.

“Unbelievable, dismay, sadness,” Chote told Newstalk ZB. “On a day where we should be talking about the positives of the game, it’s really been overshadowed.

“Really challenging for a football fan to digest, really. If you’re passionate about the game, and you’re passionate about New Zealand football, the involvement of Clayton Lewis is a double blow.

“The last person I would have thought would have been involved is Clayton Lewis.

“To see a Kiwi involved is doubly disappointing.”

According to Australian reports, Davila has been the orchestrator of the scandal, as perhaps an explanation of Lewis’ involvement.

The Herald understands the 33-year-old played a role in Lewis’ transfer from the Phoenix to Macarthur FC at the start of the current A-League season, in order to reunite with his former teammate.

The pair shared a dressing room together for a season with the Phoenix, before Davila left for Australia.

Lewis, 27, is one of the shining lights of New Zealand Football in the A-League.

With a dearth of talent now playing overseas, Lewis has been a fixture in All Whites squads over recent years, and been capped 22 times at international level, as well as representing New Zealand at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.

But now facing criminal charges, just what happens to Lewis’ playing career is to be seen.

Even if found innocent, his name will be tarnished, and an unattractive proposition for clubs to want to sign.

“Clearly, you would think they thought they weren’t going to get caught,” Chote added. “You wouldn’t do it, knowing what was at stake.

“Davila [is] 33, at the end of his career, making a buck on his way out the door. There’s no justification.

“Clayton Lewis is 27, in the prime of his career. With the All Whites having a better pathway to World Cups, he’s put all that on the line.

“They’ve mentioned $10,000 for the booking. Is $10,000 enough to throw your career away? I don’t think so.

“Maybe the thinking wasn’t there. The top two inches weren’t engaged. A quick buck might have been the motivation, but I don’t understand it.”

However, it is also important to note that all charges are yet to be proven. The trio have all been released on bail, and await trial at a later date.

For Chote, though, the events that have already taken place are a key indicator as to what might happen from here.

“Everything we talk about is subject to it being proven. But it does appear there is something to this story.

“The A-League have already stood the players down. They’ve suspended them interimly under their code of conduct. With that kind of action being taken, it’s a safe bet [that] there’s more to this story, and there’s more to come.

“What’s going through their minds? Making a quick buck, selfish, greedy. I just don’t know.

“Greed is a funny thing, I suppose. But it’s driven a behaviour here that is unsportsmanlike, un-Kiwi, and un-Australian.”

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission

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