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Spanish FA plays down match-fixing

Spanish FA president Angel Maria Villar appears unconcerned by ongoing serious investigations into match-fixing in nine Primera and Segunda Division games.

Angel Maria Villar is relaxed over allegations of match-fixing in Spain.
Angel Maria Villar is relaxed over allegations of match-fixing in Spain.

On Monday, Liga de Futbol Profesional (LFP) president Javier Tebas and Spanish sports minister Miguel Cardenal revealed that the legal and sporting authorities were looking seriously at three top-flight and six second-tier games to see if results had been ‘fixed’ either by betting syndicates or by clubs and players looking to either avoid relegation or help promotion pushes.

At the same event Girona club president Joaquim Boadas claimed his club had been approached by representatives of Segunda clubs Xerez and Racing to ‘throw’ two separate games towards the end of the 2012-13 season.

The matter does not seem a concern however for the long-serving Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol chief, who brushed off questions on the subject by AS reporters on Tuesday by saying that recent World Cup and European Championship wins showed the Spanish game was "marvellous".

"I only say that Spanish football is marvellous," Villar said. "The results achieved by our sport are there for all to see."

Meanwhile, Tebas has revealed that Athletic Bilbao's 2-1 Primera win over Real Zaragoza on May 19 is one of the matches being investigated, due to the detection of suspicious betting patterns during the game. Zaragoza were leading 1-0 with time running out, but Athletic turned it around with goals in 80th and 92nd minutes.

"The bets began to swing radically in favour of Athletic at a certain moment in the game," Tebas said. "The bets in this game were in ranges outside of the norm."

Athletic winger Gaizka Toquero says he did not think it likely Zaragoza would have ‘thrown’ the game, considering they were involved in a relegation battle at the time and needed the three points badly.

"The only thing I remember is that we won 2-1, deserved or not," Toquero said. "And seeing how Zaragoza are [relegated] now, I do not believe they let themselves be beaten."

According to El Pais former Racing Santander president and owner Francisco Pernia is among those being investigated by Spanish prosecutors in relation to an attempt to ‘fix’ Racing’s game against Girona last season. Pernia also currently faces fraud charges regarding his management of the Cantabrian club, which is currently bankrupt and has suffered two successive relegations. He also remains a board member of the RFEF.

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