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May, 10, 2013

Depor chief makes match-fixing claims

Deportivo La Coruna president Augusto Cesar Lendoiro says match-fixing has taken place in La Liga for years, but his own team have nothing to fear from an investigation into last month's 4-0 win at Levante.

That game at the Ciutat de Valencia on April 13 is currently under investigation in Spain, according to Liga de Profesional president Javier Tebas, who called for all involved in Spanish football to end a culture of 'brown envelopes' and 'incentive payments'.

Asked whether match-fixing happened in Spanish football, the Galician club's president said he was sure it did, and that his club had been relegated in 2010-11 after rival teams in the relegation battle had agreed results in advance.

"There have been many examples," Lendoiro said. "I am not talking about this year, but the year we were relegated. I am sure, sure, sure the we went down because there were agreements between other clubs to bring about determined results. Everyone knows that. Maybe there is no proof, but we must remember a certain regional president on these topics, as well as others who are going to meet soon."

The regional president referred to is thought to be then-Cantabria chief Miguel Angel Revilla, who in May 2011 called on fans of his own already-safe side Racing Santander to cheer for opponents Sporting Gijon in a penultimate clash between the two clubs, as he did not want his neighbours from Asturias to be relegated. Sporting won 2-1, and beat the drop.

Lendoiro suggested that late-season results in Spain had been fixed for years, although nobody had been able to prove it and he feared for what might happen between now and the end of the current campaign.

"Almost all games at the end of the season were fixed in one way or another," he said. "There were some results which were truly obvious. That meant, at the moment of truth, other teams had to go down when there was no reason to. We have lots of examples, but as Tebas has said, one thing is legal proof and another the reality we must live in. There are some games in the upcoming weeks which could become ridiculous."

The investigation by Spain's anti-corruption agency into the Levante 0-4 Deportivo game is reportedly being supported by both the LFP and Spain's players' union [AFE], with radio show El Larguero claiming that suspicions of betting irregularities were passed to the authorities even before the game was played.

Lendoiro said he was 100% sure his club, who are currently just outside the Primera Division relegation zone, had done nothing wrong.

"We have nothing at all to do with this case," he insisted. "We do not know if other people might have. It was extraordinary when in three minutes three golazos were scored. But if you saw the game you could not think any other thing about Deportivo.

"If there were other things or not, as senor Tebas has said on the matter of betting, I do not know. But football fans must have the clear idea that Deportivo have never, ever been involved. I would put my hand in the fire for the players and the directors, when it comes to match-fixing."

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