Fri, Jul 12, 2013 - Page 20 News List

La Liga investigates match-fixing claims in second division

AP, BARCELONA, Spain

La Liga has opened an investigation into a second-division game between Racing Santander and Hercules for possible match-fixing.

League spokesman Juan Carlos Santamaria told reporters yesterday that the Spanish league is examining Racing’s 3-0 home win over Hercules on June 8.

Racing denied any wrongdoing, as Hercules refused to comment.

This new probe comes while the league is still looking into a possible match fix between first-division sides Levante UD and RC Deportivo de La Coruna in April.

Santamaria said the latest investigation was launched on July 3 after the league received a report from a bookmaker that “warned there had been suspicious bets” placed on the game. Spanish media reports had pointed to a separate report issued by European soccer governing body UEFA, but Santamaria said it had not instigated the league’s investigation.

“This is an issue that concerns the league,” Santamaria said. “Although these cases are minimal, [we] will still have fight against them to keep the competition clean.”

The investigation is being carried out by an independent committee of legal experts who have unlimited time and the power to summon clubs officials for questioning.

If a club is found to have participated in match-fixing, they can be expelled from official competition.

The league has asked the Spanish federation to open its own investigation into the players involved in the Racing-Hercules match because the league’s jurisdiction only extends to the clubs and their officials.

Racing spokeswoman Susana Barkero said the federation’s legal advisers are studying the league’s petition and will decide whether to pursue a separate investigation.

Racing said in a statement they want “to manifest its absolute rejection of any conduct that strays from the principles of fair play which have always characterized its actions and that it is committed to protecting the integrity of the sport.”

Hercules spokeswoman Sandra Canamares told reporters the club had nothing to say.

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