Thu, May 30, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Police arrest La Liga match-fixers

AP, MADRID

Several soccer players and club executives in Spain have been arrested for suspected match-fixing, Spanish police said on Tuesday.

The Spanish National Police said that they carried out an operation to arrest 11 people in raids at various locations across the country for match-fixing, money-laundering and involvement in a criminal organization.

The suspects include soccer players playing in the first division, others who had played in the top flight but are now retired, players in the second division and “presidents and executives” of clubs, police said.

The investigation remains secret, so no names or details about the affected matches have been released by authorities.

Spanish news agency Europa Press reported that two of the players arrested play for first-division teams, although none of the country’s top clubs were apparently involved.

The investigation was being handled by a court in Huesca, a small city in northeastern Spain.

Images showed police conducting an operation at the headquarters of Sociedad Deportiva Huesca, who were relegated this season after playing in the top-flight for the first time.

The club released a statement denying any wrongdoing and saying that the judicial probe that was opened by authorities was not directly related to the club.

The statement came after Spanish media reported that a club official was among those arrested by police.

Real Valladolid, also named in Spanish media reports for allegedly having one of their players arrested, also released a statement denying wrongdoing. They called for a thorough investigation of those involved.

Speaking in a news conference, Spanish National Police General Director Francisco Pardo did not confirm reports that the first-division match between Valencia and Valladolid was among those investigated for match-fixing.

Valencia won the match 2-0 to secure the final Champions League spot in La Liga.

The police said the investigation, named “Oikos,” has led them to identify “at least three” matches in the first, second and a lower division that they believe were fixed.

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