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Sweden postpones football game after match-fixing attempt

Stockholm (AFP) – Swedish football authorities postponed Thursday’s top-flight game between IFK Gothenburg and AIK following a match-fixing attempt that included “veiled threats”.

An AIK player had been offered “a large sum of money” in exchange for trying to ensure that they lose, the Swedish Football Federation said.

“This is a very serious attack against Swedish football and we will never, never accept this,” Hakan Sjostrand, secretary general of the federation, said in a statement. 

“With veiled threats, the fixer demanded that the player perform badly during the match against IFK Gothenburg,” the statement added. 

IFK Gothenburg’s sports chief Mats Green identified the player as AIK’s Greek-Canadian goalkeeper Kenny Stamatopoulos, Green told the daily Goteborgs-Posten.

Stockholm-based AIK refused to comment on the issue during a press conference.

The football federation found out about the fixing attempt on Wednesday and informed AIK, IFK Gothenburg and the police, who have launched an investigation.

“The starting point for all of our games is that they’re safe and conducted in a sporting manner,” Sjostrand said. 

“Based on the information we’ve received, we cannot guarantee that the IFK Gothenburg and AIK game is a safe match.”

The two teams, along with the Swedish association, are expected to agree on a new date for the match. 

Several match-fixing allegations have emerged in recent years in Sweden, with investigations not always resulting in a conclusion. 

IFK Gothenburg are Sweden’s second-most successful club and the only one to have won a European title (the UEFA Cup in 1982 and 1987).

However, the club has had a difficult start to this season and are 11th in the championship after eight games. AIK are sixth. 

In 2015, a Serbian player in the Swedish second division was given a suspended jail sentence and fined over attempts to bribe three opponents to play badly before a match.

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