Former Zenit player claims team bribed referees

Erik Hagen says players chipped in to secure outcome of Uefa Cup match

Erik Hagen (right) in action for Zenit St Petersburg against Bolton   Wanderers in 2005. Photograph:  Michael Steele/Getty Images

Erik Hagen (right) in action for Zenit St Petersburg against Bolton Wanderers in 2005. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images


Former FC Zenit Saint Petersburg defender Erik Hagen has claimed that he had paid a referee to fix a Uefa Cup match during his time at the Russian team.

The 38-year old Norwegian footballer said that it was customary to pay for match-fixing and he and his teammates each paid a referee $3,000 (€2,175) to secure the outcome of a Uefa Cup match between 2005 and 2008. In return he said each of them received a $12,000 bonus (€8,699).

“I can’t remember which match it was ... I asked ‘what’s going on’ and they just said ‘You got to get used to this because that’s how it is’,” he told Norwegian daily VG.

Asked whether he had brought the issue to the attention of Uefa he said he would “tell them the same thing if they ring me”.

“Someone has to be the first to do this,” Hagen added. “There are lots of rumours about corruption in international football.”

A spokesman for the Russian team, Evgueny Gusev, denied the allegations.

“We are deeply astonished by the statement of Erik Hagen,” he told state news agency RIA Novosti. “Zenit has always followed and follows the principles of fair play and proves its worth only on the football field.”

Meanwhile, seven further players from Football League clubs based in the north-west of England have been arrested in connection with alleged spot-fixing, the National Crime Agency has revealed.

“In December 2013 the NCA arrested six men in connection with an investigation into individuals suspected of conspiracy to commit acts of bribery and money laundering relating to conduct during football matches. They were interviewed and bailed to return on April 8th pending further inquiries,” read a statement on the NCA’s website on Thursday afternoon.

“Officers from the NCA have been actively pursuing a number of lines of inquiry in this ongoing investigation. The NCA have today re-arrested the six original suspects based upon new evidence, along with a further seven footballers aged between 18 and 30 suspected of potential involvement in these offences.

“The seven men arrested in addition to the original six are from Football League clubs based in the North West of England. All 13 individuals are being interviewed at police stations across the country.

“The investigation began following receipt of material from the Sun on Sunday. It remains ongoing and we cannot provide further detail at this stage.”

Guardian and Agencies

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.