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La Liga chief Javier Tebas testifies in 2011 match-fixing trial

La Liga president Javier Tebas testified in court on Monday regarding an alleged match-fixing incident in the 2011 match between Real Zaragoza and Levante.

La Liga president Javier Tebas says he is sure that a crime took place around the game between Real Zaragoza and Levante in May 2011, which is currently the subject of a match-fixing criminal trial.

Spain's anti-corruption authorities maintain that Zaragoza's 2-1 win at Levante's Ciutat de Valencia stadium, which brought three points which saved the visitors from relegation that season, had been agreed in advance.

The official complaint names 42 players, coaches and directors from across the two clubs, and claims a total of €965,000 changed hands, with bank records showing players were heavily involved.

Having been called as a witness by judge Isabel Rodriguez on Monday, the La Liga chief told reporters outside the Valencia court that there was clear evidence of money being moved around in an illegal way.

"I know the actual truth very well, and now the legal truth will be demonstrated," Tebas said. "I believe there are determining facts -- above all, the movement of money by Zaragoza players. The information we have, and that I have confirmed, is that it reached the [Levante] players to try and fix the game. Or the money the Zaragoza players withdrew was to buy the game in agreement with their president, or it stayed with Agapito Iglesias [then Zaragoza president and owner]. So there is either a crime of match-fixing, or one of fraud. In either case there is something illegal."

Tebas, a lawyer by trade who has previously said that players found guilty of match-fixing could well go to jail, admitted that it was difficult to provide the level of proof required for a judge to bring a guilty verdict.

"I am not in the day-to-day of the deliberations," Tebas said. "The judge will be the one to decide. But the money which the Zaragoza players withdrew [from their bank accounts] either fixed a game or they kept it. Either way there is a crime. Here the players are those most responsible.

"It is difficult to demonstrate these things, but we must do everything possible to eradicate this stain on the game. In professional football it seems like the suspicions or evidence of these type of fixes have been reduced. We are working so that the sport is as clean as possible."

Other figures in court on Monday included the 2011 match referee David Fernandez Borbalan, current Levante president Quico Catalan, and recently sacked Espanyol coach Sergio Gonzalez, who was a Levante player at the time.

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera and Atletico Madrid captain Gabi, who both featured for Zaragoza in the game in question, are among other players who have given evidence during the long-running investigation which may not end until some time in 2017.


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