Southern Stars soccer player Joe Wolley , allegedly involved in match fixing leave Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Joe Nigel Woolley. Photo: Jason South

Australia's ringleader in a soccer match-fixing syndicate has pleaded guilty and two players who helped throw games have been convicted and fined for their involvement in the sting.

Segaran "Gerry" Gsubramaniam, 45, pleaded guilty to one charge of engaging in conduct that corrupts or could corrupt a betting outcome in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday.

Gsubramaniam, a Malaysian national, was the liaison between an overseas-based match-fixing syndicate and the Southern Stars, a team in the Victorian Premier League, and instructed the players to orchestrate pre-determined scorelines in five matches between July and September.

Southern Stars soccer player Reis Noell , allegedly involved in match fixing leave Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Reiss Michael Noel. Photo: Jason South

Police have alleged the sting earned the syndicate more than $2 million in betting winnings.

Gsubramaniam, who police have claimed is the ringleader of the Australian chapter of the syndicate, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail under the match-fixing laws, which were passed by the state government earlier this year.

He was remanded in custody to appear before the County Court on April 11 for a plea hearing.

Two Southern Stars players, Joe Nigel Woolley and Reiss Michael Noel, pleaded guilty to three and four charges respectively, related to the number of matches they helped fix.

The court heard Woolley and Reiss, both 24 and English nationals, were involved in either deliberating manipulating the games on the field, or instructing teammates to do so.

Noel was convicted and fined $2000 and Woolley, who trialled with English Premier League club Tottenham as a junior, was convicted and fined $1200.

Two other players, David Obaze and Nicholas McKoy, both 24, and the Southern Stars’ coach, Zia Younan, 37, appeared before court on Friday and were ordered to return on December 20Prosecutor Peter Rose, SC, described as ‘‘fairly serious’’ the level of offending Woolley and Noel engaged in, but called on magistrate Jack Vandersteen to show leniency because both men had cooperated with investigators and would testify against their co-accused if needed.

Mr Rose said Woolley, the team’s goalkeeper, and Noel, a defender, had not made much money out of their roles in the sting.

The court heard both men were ashamed and embarrassed at their involvement, and wanted to return to England.

Defence counsel Anthony Brand said the men were likely to be prevented from playing professional soccer again under the rules of FIFA, the sport’s world-governing body, which in itself was a significant punishment.

Mr Brand said the pair had been approached either individually or within a small group to take part in the match-fixing scheme, but had no idea of its scale or implications.

He said both players were considered ‘‘expendable’’ in the eyes of the syndicate, which had devised a well-organised "hit and run" operation on the Australian game.

But Mr Brand conceded the running of the sting at the Cheltenham-based club had been "clumsy", given suspicious instructions had been yelled out from the sidelines of the club’s matches, which had made opposing teams suspicious.

Mr Brand said Woolley and Noel had never received counselling in Australia or England on what to do if approached with requests to manipulate games, despite long involvements with soccer and previous stints as professionals.

He said both men had made a "stupid mistake" in taking part in the sting, although they believed match-fixing was already taking place at the Southern Stars before they joined the club this year.

The court heard up to 10 people at the club were involved in the sting. Fairfax Media reported last month four other players who were arrested had left Australia and returned to Europe. They might still face FIFA bans.

Mr Vandersteen said people were entitled to believe sporting events were free from corrupt influences and that it was important professional athletes knew of the dangers.

He took into account the men’s guilty pleas, their promise to help investigators and the shame, humiliation and embarrassment their actions had brought them.

The players were arrested following a five-week police investigation prompted by reports of irregular betting patterns on matches involving the Southern Stars.

Mr Obaze, Mr McKoy and Mr Younan have not entered pleas and are on bail.