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May, 2, 2013

Probe into Levante-Depor match likely

Anti-corruption authorities in Spain are ready to investigate claims of match-fixing in Levante's 4-0 home defeat by Deportivo La Coruna on April 14.

With Levante 3-0 down at half-time at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium, midfielder Jose Javier Barkero is reported to have accused four team-mates - goalkeeper Munua and defenders Sergio Ballesteros, Juanfran and Juanlu - of not showing their usual commitment.

Rumours about what happened have leaked out in the Spanish media in the two weeks since the match.

According to radio show El Larguero, the issue was discussed at a meeting between new Liga de Futbol Profesional president Javier Tebas and the Spanish players union [AFE] on Tuesday.

Tebas, who has vowed to get tough on potentially dubious results in end-of-season Spanish games, has passed details of the match to the Spanish government's Fiscalia Anticorrrupcion investigators, Marca has reported.

Last week, Tebas told the paper he "knew" match-fixing happened in La Liga and hoped players would come forward to end the culture of secrecy around it.

"The problem [so far] has been the gap between legal proof and the real truth," he said. "In La Liga, we need to make a further step in denouncing what is going on.

"I will not put a gun to anyone's head to get them to make an accusation - but if they come forward and talk, I would appreciate it. We must get rid of this."

Spanish FA [RFEF] regulations say players found guilty of match-fixing can be banned for two to five years, and their clubs docked up to six points. If clubs are found to have colluded in agreeing results in advance, they can be expelled from the league.

Barkero told a press conference in Valencia on Wednesday that he regretted having made the accusation and did not believe anything untoward had happened.

"I just want to say [in public] what I have said to my teammates," he said. "I have apologised to everyone, and especially to the four, those I accused of something which was not true."

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