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Three more arrests in Eldense match-fixing probe after 12-0 Barca B loss

La Liga president Javier Tebas has not hidden his desire to have Christmas football become a permanent part of the Spanish calendar.
La Liga president Javier Tebas accused the RFEF of 'looking the other way' on match-fixing.

Police in Spain have made three more arrests, including two players, in relation to a match-fixing investigation at CD Eldense.

Investigators had already detained the third-tier club's coach Filippo Vito di Pierro and general director Nobile Capuani.

The arrests were made following Eldense's 12-0 weekend defeat at Barcelona B. Eldense conceded five goals after 15 minutes and were 8-0 down at half-time.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) announced on Wednesday that it had opened disciplinary proceedings against Eldense over match-fixing allegations following the "striking" and "rare" result.

A statement said: "The competition judge considers there is enough rational evidence to begin extraordinary disciplinary proceedings against Club Deportivo Eldense, and all its members, players, staff and the club delegate that were included in that match report."

Superdeporte reported that the latest arrests were of two players and another coach.

Those detained could face charges of "corruption between individuals" and "belonging to an organised crime group," the report said.

The report said on-loan Valencia midfielder Mike Wayne Fernandez Greenwood was among those detained.

A Valencia spokesperson told ESPN FC: "We are aware of the current situation of our player. The player is entitled to a presumption of innocence.

"We have zero tolerance regarding this issue, and we will wait to see what happens."

David Aguilar, the president of Eldense's managing board, has announced the names of 12 first-team players who will continue playing for the club, with Fernandez not among them.

The allegations came to light after Eldense player Cheikh Saad accused three teammates and acting coach Fran Ruiz Casares of match-fixing.

Another Eldense player, David Azin, left on the bench for Saturday's match, said he did not wish to come on as a substitute because he believed the game had been thrown.

The 27-year-old told Welt: "Our assistant coach told another [player] already in the hotel that this match must be lost with a margin higher than five.

"Because I knew which players were involved, it was evident to me that they put on a show and you could see they were not even giving it 50 percent."

Aguilar said he suspected other games had been fixed, including Cornella's 3-1 win at home to Eldense on March 19 when irregular betting patterns surrounded an encounter that included three penalties.

La Liga president Javier Tebas told AS: "This is an extended problem. Unfortunately, in the Third Division there are many cases every weekend. We have warned the pertinent bodies, the federation and the police."

He accused the RFEF of "looking the other way" and not having the necessary measures in place to avoid such incidents.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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