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Feb 4, 2013

Investigation unveils scale of match-fixing

An investigation has uncovered allegations of match-fixing in around 380 games across Europe - including one played in England.

Europol said the joint investigation had also identified about 425 corrupt officials, players and serious criminals in 15 countries.

The 380 matches included fixtures from World Cup and European Championship qualifying games, Champions League ties and top-flight league matches in several European countries.

Speaking in The Hague on Monday, Europol director Rob Wainwright said the investigation uncovered "match-fixing activity on a scale we have not seen before".

"This is the work of a suspected organised crime syndicate based in Asia and operated with criminal networks around Europe," he said.

"It is clear to us this is the biggest-ever investigation into suspected match-fixing in Europe.

"It has yielded major results which we think have uncovered a big problem for the integrity of football in Europe. We have uncovered an extensive criminal network."

Wainwright said the investigation had uncovered €8 million in betting profits and €2 million in bribes to players and officials and had already led to several prosecutions.

Asked specifically about the allegations surrounding the Champions League tie held in England, Wainwright declined to identify the match because of "ongoing judicial proceedings".

However he did say it happened in the last three to four years, adding: "The focus has been on other countries, not the United Kingdom. However we were surprised by the scale generally of the criminal enterprise and just how widespread it was.

"It would be naive and complacent of those in the UK to think such a criminal conspiracy does not involve the English game and all the football in Europe."

Information from the Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.