Six people, including three footballers, have been arrested on suspicion of match-fixing English football games in what is described as the biggest match-rigging scandal in decades.

The arrests, made by officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA), arrived in the wake of an investigation by the Daily Telegraph, which revealed an Asian betting syndicate targeting English lower league football matches.

One of the men arrested is believed to Delroy Facey, a former Premier League footballer with Bolton Wanderers who now works as an agent.

In a series of secretly recorded conversations by the newspaper, one of the suspects can be heard discussing how clubs in the English Football Conference can be bribed and correctly predicting the next three results for one club.

One of the alleged fixers claims he can fix a lower league match for around £50,000.

He can can also be heard saying he tells teams to get a booking within the first 10 minutes or make sure there are a certain number of goals in a game as part of the match fixing scheme.

The NCA said: "Six men have been arrested across the country as part of an NCA investigation into alleged football match fixing.

"The focus of the operation is a suspected international illegal betting syndicate. The NCA is working closely with the Gambling Commission and the Football Association."

The world governing body Fifa previously warned that match-fixing is threatening the game on a global level.

In September, Dan Tan, believed to be the mastermind behind a global match-fixing, was arrested on suspicion of heading an organised crime gang which has made millions from match fixing in Italy and Hungary.

In a separate investigation, the European anti-crime agency Europol said they had identified 680 suspicious matches between 2008 and 2011, 380 of which were in Europe. Some of the games investigators were looking into include World Cup qualifiers and Champions League games.

Fifa have also imposed lifetime bans on players from Estonia and Tunisia, as well as officials from Armenia, for attempting to fix games. In April, three Lebanese officials were dropped from a game hours before kick-off when it emerged they were involved in match-fixing.

In Australia, four British players were arrested for allegedly fixing games in the Victoria Premier League.

Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey said the league had not been contacted by the police in the wake of the latest arrests.

He said: "We understand from media reports that there is an ongoing police investigation into alleged match fixing in domestic football. To date, we have had no contact from the police regarding this matter.

"The threat of corruption is something that The Football League and the other football authorities treat with the utmost seriousness. The integrity of our matches and our competitions is the bedrock of the domestic game."

The FA said they are "aware" of the investigation by the NCA.

A spokesperson added: "We have worked closely with the authorities in relation to these allegations. The FA will make no further comment at this time due to ongoing investigations."