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Widespread match-fixing claims investigated

A Champions League game in England in the past three or four years is part of an investigation into match-fixing allegations.

As many as 380 games played across 15 different countries have been earmarked as suspicious following a lengthy investigation into what the European law enforcement agency Europol considers a criminal network within the sport.

A total of 425 players, officials and other individuals are also suspected of being involved in an organised crime syndicate based in Asia, which is thought to have been organising the operation to rig the results of matches.

Criminals are believed to have wagered 13.9 million pounds on fixed matches and recorded a seven million pounds profit, with payments of 1.7m pounds made to those involved in the scheme and the biggest single payment to an individual totalling 122,000 pounds.

So far, 50 people have been arrested, with officials stating their concern that the news was simply ‘the tip of the iceberg’.

Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, revealed that a second Champions League match, not believed to have been played in England, is also under investigation.

He told a press conference in the Netherlands: “This is the work of a suspected organised crime syndicate based in Asia and operated with criminal networks around Europe.

“It is clear to us this is the biggest-ever investigation into suspected match-fixing in Europe. It has yielded major results which we think have uncovered a big problem for the integrity of football in Europe.

“We have uncovered an extensive criminal network. This is a sad day for European football and more evidence of the corrupting influence in society of organised crime.

“But this investigation also proves the value of international police cooperation in fighting back against the criminals involved.

“Europol and its law enforcement partners are committed to pursuing serious criminals wherever they operate. Unfortunately this also now includes the world of football, where illegal profits are made on a scale and in a way that threatens the very fabric of the game.

“All those responsible for running football should heed the warnings found in this case.”

Mon 4 Feb, 2013
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