Last week, it was announced that the FA were to launch an investigation when a suspicious betting pattern was found after an unidentified Arsenal player received a booking during a Premier League match.
Large sums of money were bet on the player in question receiving a yellow card in a particular minute of a game.
This appeared to be a case of spot fixing, a bet placed on a particular incident occurring in a match, rather than on the outcome of the game. While not unknown in sports like cricket or tennis – where players are paid to bowl a no-ball or drop a serve – it is rare in the Premier League because players are paid so much that, presumably, they do not need the money.
Despite that, British newspapers have revealed more details about the incident and named the player involved – the Swiss midfielder and international captain Granit Xhaka.
It occurred during Arsenal’s away match against Leeds United at Elland Road in December, which his side won 4-1.
However, large sums were bet in cryptocurrency for Xhaka to receive an 88th-minute yellow card, which he duly did for time wasting.
Had the bet paid out, it would have stood to generate millions in winnings. Instead, the firm through which the bet was placed raised red flags and reported it to the authorities.
The booking had no impact in the result of the match, given the scoreline at the time. However, still it raises questions that need to be answered.
Xhaka is no stranger to controversy. He is currently serving his latest suspension after being sent off for the fifth time in his Arsenal career during the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal. Some Arsenal fans have not forgiven him for throwing the captain’s armband to the floor and gesturing to the Emirates crowd when substituted during Unai Emery's stint as manager.
Of course, Xhaka is innocent until proven guilty. But, if the allegations prove to be true, not only could he face another ban, but his Arsenal future may once again be in doubt.