France probes sus­pi­cions of match-fix­ing in PSG-Red Star Cham­pi­ons League game

Bangkok Post - - FOOTBALL -

>> PARIS: France’s fi­nan­cial pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice said on Fri­day it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing sus­pi­cions of match-fix­ing in the Cham­pi­ons League match match be­tween Paris St-Ger­main and Ser­bian club Red Star Belgrade on Oct 3.

Ear­lier on Fri­day, French sports news­pa­per L’Equipe wrote on its web­site that Euro­pean foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body Uefa had alerted French au­thor­i­ties of pos­si­ble match-fix­ing at the match, based on a tip from a “cred­i­ble” in­for­mant.

L’Equipe said the in­for­mant had told Uefa, be­fore the match, that a high-level Red Star of­fi­cial was plan­ning to place nearly €5 mil­lion in bets on a five-goal-dif­fer­ence win by PSG, with the com­plic­ity of sev­eral play­ers. This prompted the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

PSG beat Red Star 6-1 with Ney­mar scor­ing a hat-trick.

The pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice said it could nei­ther con­firm nor deny L’Equipe’s story.

Red Star de­nied the al­le­ga­tions made in the news­pa­per re­port.

“With the ut­most anger and dis­dain, Red Star ve­he­mently de­nies al­le­ga­tions that the club’s Cham­pi­ons League match with PSG might have been rigged. Red Star also strongly de­nies the in­volve­ment of any of the club’s of­fi­cials in any such il­le­git­i­mate acts,” Red Star said in a state­ment.

“Al­le­ga­tions from L’Equipe could cause con­sid­er­able dam­age to our club’s rep­u­ta­tion and Red Star Foot­ball Club there­fore in­sists that Uefa as well as the au­thor­i­ties in Ser­bia and France should fully in­ves­ti­gate th­ese sus­pi­cions to find out the truth,” Red Star said.

L’Equipe wrote that no ev­i­dence of any match-fix­ing had yet been un­cov­ered by au­thor­i­ties and that all op­tions were pos­si­ble, from match-fix­ing to false al­le­ga­tions.

L’Equipe quoted PSG as say­ing they were sur­prised and shocked by the al­le­ga­tions and that no one at the club had been con­tacted about any­thing other than is­sues strictly linked to or­gan­is­ing the match.

In an emailed re­sponse to Reuters, Uefa said it never com­ments on po­ten­tial, or the ex­is­tence of, in­ves­ti­ga­tions into al­leged match-fix­ing so as not to com­pro­mise the process of such in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Also on Fri­day, Bel­gian pros­e­cu­tors said they had charged 19 peo­ple, in­clud­ing two ref­er­ees, agents and the coach of Bel­gian cham­pi­ons Club Bruges, with fraud or match-fix­ing.

The of­fences ranged from crim­i­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion to money laun­der­ing and cor­rup­tion, fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors said.

Nine of the 19 re­mained in cus­tody. Ivan Leko, the Croa­t­ian coach of cham­pi­ons Club Bruges, was among those re­leased.

“I will fight back. This is not the first time I was on zero ... I didn’t de­serve this,” he said.

PSG’s Ney­mar cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing against Red Star Belgrade.

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