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Malta goalkeeper Hogg reveals FIFA warning over match-fixing fears

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 30 Oct 2016

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Malta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg has claimed a FIFA official warned the team about suspicious betting patterns prior to a World Cup qualifier last month.

Pietro Ghedin’s side faced Lithuania on October 11 in a Group F clash in Vilnius, where they were beaten 2-0 thanks to goals from Fiodor Cernych and an 84th-minute penalty from Arvydas Novikovas.

Hogg says a FIFA representative entered the dressing-room prior to kick-off to reveal that an unusually large number of bets had been placed on the game, reportedly on Malta to be beaten by two goals or more.

English-born Hogg, 31, who plays club football for Maltese side Hibernians, told The Sun: “It was strange and felt very uncomfortable, as if we were being accused of cheating.

“I knew I’d done absolutely nothing wrong and had no idea what they were talking about. But I was left thinking, ‘If I f*** up now I might end up in the police station’.

“In the event, there was nothing I could do about the goals. I made three or four good saves which show I was doing my best. I have absolutely nothing to hide.

“But this could really mess up the group because no one knows what might happen next. It’s a bulls**t situation.”

FIFA are yet to comment on the matter but have reportedly opened an investigation, though no individual has yet been accused of any wrongdoing.

Lithuania’s win moved them into second place in the group after three games, two points behind leaders England. Malta are bottom after three defeats.

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