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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 5, 2007

UEFA to probe Reds' win over Besiktas?

UEFA could be investigating Liverpool's 8-0 victory over Besiktas in the Champions League for alleged suspicious betting patterns during the match.

German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung has claimed there was unusually high levels of betting on a high-score victory before the game.

The paper suggested Besiktas players could have been targeted by Asian betting syndicates ahead of the game which saw the Reds romp to a record win thanks in part to Yossi Benayoun's hat-trick.

UEFA's director of communications, William Gaillard, has so far only confirmed an InterToto Cup clash between Makedonija and Cherno More is being officially investigated but admits a number of other games are under suspicion.

Asked for his response to the article in Germany about the Anfield game, Gaillard told the Daily Mail: 'At this stage I can neither confirm nor deny the reports. There has to be a certain amount of confidentiality with these things because we could risk a source of information drying up.'

UEFA, who have made no contact with Liverpool officials, are working with Europol, the pan-European police force, to investigate matches that may have been fixed by gangster-run betting syndicates.

Meanwhile, UEFA are to consider possible exceptions to their ban on standing areas at stadiums holding European matches.

The European governing body's president Michel Platini yesterday met fans from across the continent and German supporters put forward a case for allowing safe standing areas.

They produced the example of Werder Bremen, who have constructed a standing area in their stadium.

William Gaillard, UEFA's communications director and Platini's special adviser, said the ban on standing still applies but they were prepared to look at new designs in the future.

Gaillard told PA Sport: 'There are some stadia in Germany that have standing areas which the public authorities say are perfectly safe.

'These are nothing like the old terraces, and it can be argued that they are much safer than having fans standing in seated areas as often happens.

'We have told the fans that the regulations we have now still apply, but that we are open to dialogue and would look at any new designs.

'In the future we are always ready, together with FIFA, to look at the options but at the moment we feel sitting is a much better way to watch football.'

The meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, involved fans' representatives from England, Scotland, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Denmark, and the Supporters Direct organisations from the UK and Germany.

Platini also promised to pass on to football rulemakers calls to use video evidence to punish players who dive after representations from Scottish fans.

Currently, FIFA only allow video evidence to be used in instances where the referee has not seen an incident, rather than to correct his judgement.

Gaillard added: 'There were suggestions for changes to the laws of the game which we will relay to the International FA Board.'

Spanish fans called for half-time intervals to be extended to 20 minutes to allow more time for supporters to use toilet facilities but UEFA said that would have implications for players getting too cold and having to warm up again.

All the fans' groups welcomed Platini's initiative in having the Champions League final held on a Saturday from 2010, said Gaillard.

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