Former Super Eagles players, brothers charged for fraud in UK

Former Nigeria international, Sam Sodje, and three of his brothers have been charged in England following a long-running investigation into a charity they run.

Sodje, 37, who made his debut for Nigeria in a 2005 3-0 friendly defeat to Romania in Bucharest, is due to appear in court next month.

He played for Reading in the Premier League during the 2006/07 season.

The defender also turned out for Watford, West Brom, Reading, Brentford, Charlton Athletic, Leeds United, Notts County and Portsmouth.

He and his brothers Efe, Stephen and Bright were charged with fraudulent trading following a probe by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into allegations of irregularities at the Sodje Sports Foundation (SSF).

As a registered charity, the Foundation enjoyed tax exemptions and other benefits.

Sam Sodje was born in Greenwich, south east London, but played at international level for Nigeria, the country where his family originate from.

His brother Efe Sodje represented Nigeria in the 2000 African Cup of Nations and the 2002 World Cup.

He played for English clubs including Luton Town, Colchester United, Crewe Alexandra, Huddersfield Town, Yeovil Town, Southend United, Gillingham and Bury.

In August, Efe hit out at the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), for agreeing to pay Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, $47,000 a month.

Bright, 50, is another of the brothers to be indicted and used to play rugby league for Sheffield Eagles, Wakefield Wildcats and Hull KR.

Stephen Sodje, 42, played for Welling and has been charged alongside his three sportsman siblings with fraudulent trading.

An NCA spokesman said: “Four people have been charged with fraud offences after an investigation by the National Crime Agency.

“Bright, Efetobore, Samuel and Stephen Sodje were charged with fraudulent trading and bailed until November 14th when they will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court.

“The four were arrested on July 13th after a three-year NCA investigation into alleged irregularities at the Sodje Sports Foundation.”

This isn’t the first time that Sam Sodje has courted controversy after the Sun on Sunday revealed that he had participated in fixing football matches.

In 2013 he admitted to punching an opposition player in the groin so he would be sent off to earn himself a bung of £70,000.