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By ESPN Staff

Ten people fined in Czech match-fixing case

PRAGUE, Jan 26 (Reuters) - A Czech court has fined 10 referees and club officials in a match-fixing affair that sparked the biggest corruption scandal in the country's soccer history, news agency CTK said on Thursday.

It said a court in the eastern town of Kromeriz handed out fines of 50,000-300,000 crowns ($2,154-$12,930) and banned most of those convicted from performing their duties for three to five years.

The seven referees and three officials were convicted of giving and taking bribes to fix the matches of first division team Synot, now called Slovacko, in the 2003/2004 season.

The prosecution was based on police wire-taps and the offenders face prison terms of two to five months if they fail to pay the fines, CTK said.

Former Synot sports director Jaroslav Hastik immediately appealed against the verdict while the others who have been convicted still have time to lodge an appeal.

One referee had already been fined 30,000 crowns and given a suspended sentence for influencing a first division match between Viktoria Zizkov and Brno in the 2003/2004 season.

More officials and referees are due to appear in court on Friday in a separate trial involving alleged match-fixing on behalf of Zizkov.

Published police wire-taps of mobile phone conversations in the Zizkov affair, which included explicit language, became so popular that they were turned into a successful theatre play and some expressions have already entered common language.

A total of five first and second division teams had points deducted at the end of the 2004/05 season. They were Synot, Slovan Liberec, Opava, Vitkovice and Viktoria Zizkov.