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By ESPN Staff

Spanish betting probe hits La Palmas and Vallecano

Spanish second division clubs Las Palmas and Rayo Vallecano, and seven professional players are to be investigated in a probe into betting on matches, Las Palmas said on their website.

The Spanish football federation (RFEF) said on Tuesday they were opening an enquiry into players suspected of betting on the outcome of matches they were competing in, and others, after a tip-off from European football's governing body UEFA.

Last month, the German authorities uncovered what UEFA described as the biggest match-fixing scandal on the continent.

"The RFEF have started a disciplinary enquiry into Las Palmas, Rayo Vallecano and various footballers from other teams to investigate the participation of professional footballers in betting on matches," Las Palmas said.

The Canary Island club named seven players in their statement, none of whom were in their squad.

Goalkeeper Javier Lopez Vallejo of promoted La Liga club Real Zaragoza and Rayo striker Piti were the highest profile players named.

Zaragoza were unavailable for comment, but Rayo confirmed they had been notified of the investigation into their club and player.

Two weeks ago, German police said they had dismantled a gang with more than 200 suspected members operating in nine European leagues.

Police in Germany, Britain, Austria and Switzerland staged simultaneous raids, arresting 15 people in Germany and two in Switzerland.

The gang is suspected of having paid off referees, players and officials to win at least 10 million euros ($14.97 million), with officials speculating this to be the tip of the iceberg.

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