Match-fixing investigation begins
Nine Spanish league games played last season, including three in the top flight, are being seriously investigated for match-fixing, according to the Liga de Futbol Profesional (LFP) president Javier Tebas.
The announcement came at a press conference on Monday in Madrid, attended by Spanish sports minister Miguel Cardenal, where Girona club president Joaquim Boadas claimed his club had been approached to ‘throw’ two separate second flight games towards the end of the 2012-13 season.
Tebas said he was being careful not to say too much to avoid prejudicing investigations by both the footballing and legal authorities in Spain.
"They are six from the Liga Adelante [Segunda] and three from the Liga BBVA [Primera]," Tebas said. "I am not going to reveal [all the details] so as not to interfere in the investigation, but among them are Girona-Xerez, Racing-Hercules, which is in the hands of the civil judicial authorities, and Levante-Deportivo [La Coruna]. The suspicions are for various reasons and come from the evidence of unusual bets before and after the games were played."
El Pais said on Tuesday "police sources" had told them that Levante-Celta (1-2) and Getafe-Zaragoza (0-4) from last season were also being investigated, while Levante-Zaragoza (1-2) from 2010-11 was also being looked at.
Monday’s most detailed allegations came from Girona chief Boadas. He said that on July 2 a group of very senior Racing figures asked him to sign a backdated document stating Girona had deliberately played a weakened team in their 1-0 win at El Sardinero on April 13. Under league regulations this would mean Racing would be awarded three points for that game, thereby saving the Santander club from relegation. The suggestion was Girona could receive a Racing player on loan for next season, and a sum of money.
"On July 2 we had a visit from some Racing representatives who proposed we sign a document dated April 10, 2013 in which we would assume the weakened line-up," Boadas said. "We refused to sign it because this was false and because it is against what we claim in this case."
Boadas, who said he found the whole situation "surreal", says he has recorded some of the conversation on his mobile phone and has handed over the document he was asked to sign to Spanish police.
The Catalan club’s president said the offer ahead of the game on May 11 against Xerez had been made from unnamed players of the Andalucian team to his club’s goalkeeper Dani Mallo.
"Before the game the club’s then captain Dani Mallo told me that some Xerez players had offered him €120,000 to let them win the game," Boadas said. "They had an offer of €20,000 per player to win the game, but it seemed to them impossible."
Xerex - who were already doomed to relegation at the time - surprisingly won the game 4-2 at promotion chasing Girona.
El Pais says other Segunda games under investigation from last season include Hercules-Murcia, Racing-Hercules and Xerez-Hercules. In July, Marca claimed that then Sabadell defender Abraham Paz had been involved in a fix of two of his club’s games late last season - against Hercules and Huesca. Paz has denied the allegations.
Meanwhile, Alcorcon are the latest team to face a forced relegation from La Segunda due to issues with its accounts. The suburban Madrid club, previously seen as a well-run outfit, finished fifth in the division last season. But they are now facing demotion to the third tier after irregularities reportedly took place as the club raised the money needed to meet a recent new regulation requiring all Segunda clubs convert to public companies.
Guadalajara have already been forcibly relegated for similar issues, with Murcia being given a reprieve and allowed to stay up despite finishing in the bottom four. Should Alcorcon not resolve their issues either Racing (despite being bankrupt and the above match-fixing allegations) or Huesca (Tebas’ former club) will be reinstated less than two weeks ahead of the new Segunda season’s kick off on August 17.