Saturday, 1 December 2007

UEFA looks at match-fixing claims

European football's governing body, UEFA, has given a 96-page report to Interpol alleging that 15 games in a variety of European club competitions were fixed.

The matches are thought to have been qualifiers for the Champions League, UEFA Cup and the Intertoto Cup and are not before July 2005. It is thought the 15 suspected matches were played during the current season with another 11 taking place between July 2005 and November 2006.

The story was reported in German magazine Der Spiegel.

The magazine alleges that the vast majority of clubs involved come from countries in eastern and south-eastern Europe, with Bulgaria, Georgia, Serbia, Croatia and the Baltics among those named.

A statement from UEFA read: "UEFA introduced, over one year ago, an early warning system in order to monitor irregular betting activities, and agreed to work together with the appropriate police authorities.

"In this respect we were informed of some unusual betting patterns in the preliminary rounds of UEFA club competitions. In one case, a second round UEFA Intertoto Cup match, the disciplinary inspector considered the circumstances serious enough to bring the case before the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body. At its meeting earlier this week on Thursday 29 November it requested that further investigations be carried out before taking a final decision."

UEFA confirmed that none of the matches involved in the investigation are euro 2008 qualifiers. "For the avoidance of doubt, there are no investigations underway into any of the qualifying matches for UEFA Euro 2008."

"As a responsible governing body UEFA is continuously monitoring football betting patterns and will take disciplinary action in any cases where that may be justified," concluded the statement.

Earlier this week, UEFA opened an investigation into the Intertoto Cup match between Bulgarians Cherno More and Macedonia's Makedonija on July 7, which Cherno More won 4-0.

The Bulgarian club, who went on to lose 2-0 to Sampdoria in the following round, have strongly denied any wrongdoing. "It's an extremely unpleasant case but we think that the charges are unwarranted," Cherno More's lawyer Mihail Statev said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Source: UEFA

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