Liverpool in the dark over fixing claims
Soccer:Liverpool today said they have had no contact from Europol or any other body in connection with match-fixing allegations surrounding their 2009 Champions League match against Debrecen.
The European law enforcement agency said one Champions League match played in England is under investigation.
According to Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet, Europol is looking at Hungarian side Debrecen who lost 1-0 to Liverpool at Anfield in 2009. There is no suggestion that anyone at Liverpool was involved in any wrongdoing.
Vukasin Poleksic, the Debrecen goalkeeper that night, was banned for two years in 2010 by Uefa for failing to report match-fixing activities involving a different game. A Liverpool spokesman said this morning: “We have had no contact from Europol or any other organisation over this.”
Europol has not revealed which Champions League match in England is under investigation but that it took place “in the last three to four years” and is one of 380 games being studied. However it emerged also yesterday neither the English FA nor Uefa were aware of any such probe.
A spokesman for the FA said: “The FA are not aware of any credible reports into suspicious Champions League fixtures in England, nor has any information been shared with us.
“While the Champions League comes under Uefa jurisdiction, The FA, alongside the Premier League, Football League and Conference, monitor markets for the top seven leagues and three major cup competitions in England and take matters of integrity in football extremely seriously.”
Rob Wainwright, director of Europol — the European Union’s law enforcement agency, told a news conference that a total of 425 match officials, club officials, players, and serious criminals, from more than 15 countries, are suspected of being involved in attempts to fix matches.
Fifa’s head of security Ralf Mutschke has called for tougher prison sentences for match-fixing. Mutschke said football could ban perpetrators for life — but that the courts need to crack down harder.
He said: “In football, a national association can sanction a member of the football family if they are found guilty of contravening the legal, football framework.
“Fifa’s disciplinary code provides the opportunity to extend those sanctions, and impose a life ban. But for people outside of football, currently the custodial sentences imposed are too weak, and offer little to deter someone from getting involved in match-fixing.”