CL match between Liverpool and Debrecen suspected of being fixed
Tuesday, 05 February 2013

The European police match-fixing investigation reportedly suspects that Liverpool's 2009 Champions League match against Hungarian side Debrecen was fixed.


Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet claimed that Vukasin Poleksic, Debrecen's goalkeeper for the match at Anfield, was approached to help ensure there were at least three goals in the match.

Liverpool won only 1-0 with a goal from Dirk Kuyt, scored on the rebound after Poleksic saved a shot from Fernando Torres.


There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Liverpool. The club issued a statement on Monday night to make clear: “Liverpool Football Club has not been contacted by anyone from Europol or UEFA in relation to this matter.”

Another of Debrecen’s matches during that Champions League campaign - the 4-3 loss to Serie A side Fiorentina - was subject to attempted match-fixing by a Croatian-led criminal gang, according to German police.

That investigation in Bochum centred upon Croatian Ante Sapina, who was sentenced to five years in prison in 2011 for fixing 20 matches across Europe, and forms the basis for the Europol one which highlighted widespread corruption on Monday.

Poleksic was banned by UEFA for two years for failing to report an approach from match-fixers before the Fiorentina match. He took the fight to clear his name to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where the ban was upheld.

Mystery surrounds the investigation - which revealed on Monday that a Champions League game in England was one of 380 matches deemed suspicious - after it emerged neither the Football Association nor UEFA were aware of any such probe.


Rob Wainwright, director of Europol - the European Union's law enforcement agency - had refused to name the match due to "ongoing judicial proceedings".

Investigators told the news conference an Asia-based crime syndicate is behind the fixing of the 380 matches, along with World Cup and European Championship qualifiers and "several top football matches in European leagues".

Wainwright said at a press conference in The Hague: "This is the work of a suspected organised crime syndicate based in Asia and operated with criminal networks around Europe.

"It is clear to us this is the biggest-ever investigation into suspected match-fixing in Europe. It has yielded major results which we think have uncovered a big problem for the integrity of football in Europe."


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