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Match-fixing scandal sweeps Czech, Slovak football leagues

Seven current or former Slovak top football league players were charged with corruption by Slovakia’s National Crime Agency (NKA) as part of a joint Czech-Slovak police sting. Four of those charged with receiving bribes in Slovakia are current players of Corgoň Premier League football team DAC 1904 Dunajská Streda, while another three are former premier league players. The latter three are charged with paying bribes to the active players.

Seven current or former Slovak top football league players were charged with corruption by Slovakia’s National Crime Agency (NKA) as part of a joint Czech-Slovak police sting. Four of those charged with receiving bribes in Slovakia are current players of Corgoň Premier League football team DAC 1904 Dunajská Streda, while another three are former premier league players. The latter three are charged with paying bribes to the active players.

Czech police undertook a parallel operation that resulted in the arrests and charging of 12 people. There, the allegations concern primarily second, third and fourth divisions, but suspicions are that premier league matches were not spared fixing, either. Several top division players have been interrogated.

The total of rigged matches amounts to at least 19, Police Corps President Tibor Gašpar told the TASR newswire. They include former players identified by the police for now only as Ivan Z., Róbert R., Marián D., along with active players Michal D., Ivan H., Tomáš H. and Marek B. The Sme daily identified the active players as Ivan Hodúr, a former national team player, Michal Dian, Tomáš Huber and Marek Božoň.

“It was mainly the former players of our premier football league who approached active players in teams and tried to arrange with them the results of matches, or alternatively the number of goals scored or other possibilities that are on offer through bookmakers,” said Gašpar. The gang’s ringleader most likely comes from an Asian country where he made online bets in Asian bookmakers for the matches in question. The Slovaks were also involved in orchestrating similar schemes in the Czech Republic, too.

According to Gašpar, whether a particular match would be fixed was usually decided 15 minutes into the match when the particular bookmakers released the respective betting options. The bribes ranged from €2,000-€60,000 and were settled right after the matches. A total of €210,000 is believed to have been spent on these bribes. Profits per each match amounted to €50,000.

Those charged with providing bribes may face two to five years in prison, while those charged with receiving the bribes may face jailtime of up to eight years. The uncovering of the scheme was largely aided by a Czech football league player who was approached with an offer for match-fixing but declined to be involved. “He contacted the Czech police and the investigation got going,” said Gaspar.

This is the first uncovered case of match fixing in Slovakia's top football league that was perpetrated by an organised group, TASR wrote.

(Source: TASR, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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