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New match-fixing scandal - 200 matches implicated

20 November 2009 14:30

BERLIN (AFP) - Around 200 football matches in nine European countries including at least three Champions League games this season are implicated in a new match-fixing scandal, German prosecutors said on Friday.

The suspect matches took place in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Hungary, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Austria, netting criminals several million euros (dollars) in betting profits, prosecutors believe.

They include 12 matches from the Europa League, formerly known as the UEFA Cup, one qualifying game for the under-21 European championship and four from the German second division.

Police carried out around 50 raids on Thursday in Germany, Britain, Switzerland and Austria, arresting 15 people in Germany and two in Switzerland. More than a million euros in cash and property were seized.

They are suspected of influencing matches and placing bets on them with bookmakers in Europe and Asia. Prosecutors have reason to believe that players, coaches, referees and officials were offered bribes.

Two of those arrested on Thursday included two Croatian brothers living in Berlin, Ante and Milan Sapina, who were at the centre of a match-fixing scandal that rocked Germany in 2004, newspapers said.

The affair saw referee Robert Hoyzer imprisoned after admitting receiving almost 70,000 euros (104,000 dollars) and a plasma television to throw games mainly in the German second and third division.

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