Players, coach detained in Spanish match-fixing probe


Madrid (AFP) – Police investigating suspicions of match-fixing arrested the coach and two players of third division Spanish side Eldense after their 12-0 defeat to Barcelona’s B team, a police source told AFP on Tuesday.

As well as Italian coach Filippo Di Pierro, two unnamed players and the head of an Italian investment fund running the club were arrested and questioned.

Eldense player Cheikh Saad was the first to point the finger at a number of his teammates and coach after their record-equalling defeat in Spain’s Second Division B on Saturday.

Saad told radio station Cadena Copa that certain players stood to make “huge sums” of money from bets placed on the match.

Club president David Aguilar then reported his suspicions to police and Spanish football authorities.

Di Pierro was appointed coach after an Italian investor took control of the club earlier this season with suspicions now raised over whether that investment was linked to illegal betting patterns.

“At the very least we must investigate it because there are certain links to an Italian group that has the look of what may be indications of an international betting ring when it comes to fixing matches,” said president of the Spanish league Javier Tebas.

There is no suspicion of wrongdoing on the part of Barca B and Barcelona boss Luis Enrique believes they have been “victims” in the case.

“It is a delicate subject that has to be handled seriously,” said Enrique.

“Barca B are not implicated, they are simply victims of this type of blackmail. It is good they (alleged perpetrators) are being pursued and we can get this out of football as soon as possible.”

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