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Ander Herrera, Gabi appearances in match-fixing court case put back

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera and Atletico Madrid captain Gabi have had court appearances in connection with the alleged fixing of a game between Levante and Real Zaragoza in May 2011 put back until close to the end of the season.

The case has so far seen 42 people called to appear in front of a judge -- 36 players and directors and officials including ex-Zaragoza coach Javier Aguirre.

Former Zaragoza midfielders Herrera and Gabi had both been due to appear at a court in Valencia on March 5.

However, United midfielder Herrera is now due to be present on April 27, the day after his team's Premier League fixture at Everton, while Gabi is to appear on May 4, the Monday after Atletico's game at home to Athletic Bilbao.

The date changes were reportedly decided in order to ensure that all those called to appear could be present.

Aguirre, recently sacked as Japan coach, and former Zaragoza president Agapito Iglesias are among others scheduled to appear in sessions planned to run until May 6, meaning verdicts could be delivered before the end of the season.

The case has been taken by Spain's anti-corruption authorities, who allege that Zaragoza's 2-1 win at Levante's Ciutat de Valencia stadium -- which saved the club from relegation -- had been agreed in advance.

El Pais reported that the state alleges Zaragoza's board initiated the arrangement, in which 965,000 euros changed hands, with bank records reported to show that players from both teams were heavily involved.

AS said the case was in line with the La Liga authorities and Spanish government's attempts to stamp out the practice of "incentive payments" and the agreement of some results in advance when relegation matters were being decided.

Under the legislation, prison sentences of between six months to four years are possible, but it is more likely that individual players, coaches or officials found guilty would be banned from the game for between one and six years.

Clubs can also face sanctions including points deductions or relegation.

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