Sat, Dec 10, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Dinamo-Lyon game ‘not suspicious’

AFP, PARIS

A probe into Olympique Lyonnais’ shock 7-1 Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb has not revealed any irregularities, France’s betting watchdog said on Thursday.

France’s online gaming authority ARJEL opened their investigation after the match in Zagreb on Wednesday night, which featured the fastest ever hat-trick in the Champions League and gave the French side a surprise ticket to the last 16 at the expense of Dutch side Ajax.

It was a remarkable rescue act for Lyon, who went into their final Group D game three points behind Ajax and needing to make up a goal-difference of seven if they were to reach the knockout rounds.

French international striker Bafetimbi Gomis was the star of the show, scoring four goals, including the fastest ever triple in the competition.

However, a number of the goals were down to glaring defensive and goalkeeping errors.

Real Madrid and Lyon qualified for the last 16, while Ajax took third place in the group and will play in the Europa League.

The betting regulator said that after the match they “proceeded to examine betting patterns in the French market. In the light of analyses carried out today by the French regulator, no particular anomaly was recorded.”

However, ARJEL president Jean-Francois Vilotte called on European soccer’s governing body UEFA to examine what happened in other markets.

“It’s important that UEFA look at what happened in other markets,” Vilotte said. “Either it’s a rumor [of match fixing] and it has to be killed straight away, or it has to be investigated immediately.”

UEFA said that they had detected nothing suspicious surrounding the match.

“UEFA is aware and has taken note of the media coverage of the matches played yesterday and the different allegations which have appeared in the press,” the organization said in a statement.

“We have established a system for fraud detection ... which examines 29,000 matches per season and uses the data of more than 400 betting organizations,” the statement said. “For the moment, this system has shown no illegal betting movement to justify an investigation.”

Madrid-based sports daily AS said Lyon’s victory was “under a cloud of suspicion,” pointing out that the French team scored six times in a half-hour spell and adding that there had been “a strange gesture of complicity.”

The French team defended their “incredible exploit,” while the Croatian club described the speculation as “scandalous and malicious.”

Ajax coach Frank de Boer refused to be drawn into the controversy.

However, Ajax director Martin Sturkenboom revealed later on Thursday that the club would ask UEFA to investigate.

Dinamo sacked manager Krunoslav Jurcic within an hour of the game as the team finished without a point after conceding 22 goals over six matches — also a record since the Champions League competition started in 1992.

A 7-1 victory is one of the largest winning margins since the creation of the Champions League.

In an away game, only Olympique de Marseille had previously achieved such a result — winning 7-0 at Slovak side MSK Zilina last year.

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