FORMER Newport County AFC player Michael Boateng has been jailed after becoming the first footballer since the 1960s to be found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery in a football match-fixing trial.

Boateng, who played three matches on loan for County last year as they won promotion from the Conference, was convicted by an 11-1 majority verdict following a four-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court and received his 16-month sentence today.

The 22-year-old, of Davidson Road, Croydon, south London, was found guilty alongside businessmen Chann Sankaran and Krishna Ganeshan, who were unanimously convicted of the same offence. Both the businessmen received five-year terms.

Jurors cleared Hakeem Adelakun, who also played for Brighton-based Whitehawk, of involvement in the conspiracy and could not reach a verdict on a third footballer, Moses Swaibu. The jury was discharged after it failed to reach a decision on Swaibu, 23, of Bermondsey, also a former Whitehawk player. He was granted unconditional bail pending a retrial in September.

None of the charges related to Boateng’s tenure with Newport County. Sankaran, 33, and Ganeshan, 43, were described as the “central” figures in the plot, while Boateng, and was a “willing recruit”.

Adelakun, aged 23, of Thornton Heath, south London, told the jury he knew nothing at all about any plot to fix matches.

The convictions were the first in relation to match fixing since the 1960s.