Following the announcement on Thursday, and after Friday's press conference by the German authorities that confirmed a number of individuals were arrested by German police in connection with match-fixing and corruption allegations concerning around 200 matches, UEFA can today confirm that it has been assisting the German authorities with their investigations.
UEFA actively involved
UEFA has been actively involved in the investigation and has given assistance via detailed information through its Betting Fraud Detection System. This detection system monitors all UEFA competitions and European national league first and second-division matches for suspicious betting patterns. The information on a number of matches was passed to the German authorities upon their request.
Of the matches concerned, the vast majority are domestic league games in nine countries, under the jurisdiction of the respective authorities and national football associations. The small number of matches that relate directly to European football – 12 UEFA Europa League and three UEFA Champions League fixtures – are all early qualifying round games. More information will be given on which matches are involved at a later date. These games do, however, form part of the UEFA list of 40 matches that have previously been quoted as being under suspicion.
Commenting on the case, UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino said: "Firstly, I would like to thank the German authorities for their action and for the good collaboration. This case proves that it is possible for a state investigative authority to work closely together with a sports governing body when it comes to corruption or match-fixing, and it is gratifying to see that the Betting Fraud Detection System endorsed by the UEFA President, Michel Platini, is already bearing fruit. We will continue our battle against any form of corruption in European football with a mission of zero tolerance.
Harshest of sanctions
"UEFA will be demanding the harshest of sanctions before the competent courts for any individuals, clubs or officials who are implicated in this malpractice, be it under state or sports jurisdiction."
Champions League ties included in match-fixing investigation leading to 17 arrests(Telegraph)
Police said more than 50 raids had been conducted in Switzerland, Germany and Britain and that evidence, cash and valuables have been seized.
Authorities believe they have arrested the leaders of the gang suspected of manipulating games to make money on betting. No identities were released, although they said about 200 people are suspected of being involved.
Among the games believed to have been manipulated are three Champions League games and 12 Europa League games, all this year. Prosecutors did not specify whether those were qualifying games or group-round matches. A qualifying match for the Under-21 European Championship is also under suspicion.
Games in nine European countries are believed to have been manipulated, although none in England, Spain, Italy or France.
The suspected games in Germany were played in the second-division or lower. Other countries involved are Belgium, Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Hungary, Bosnia and Austria.
Media reports in Berlin said that two Croatian brothers convicted in Germany’s match-fixing scandal in 2005 were among those arrested.
The betting syndicate leaders are suspected of bribing players, coaches, referees and other officials to fix games and the suspected leaders are believed to have made millions.
The investigation began in January and has been supported by Uefa, Europe’s governing body of football.
Peter Limacher, Uefa’s head of disciplinary services, said he believed it was the biggest match-fixing scandal to ever hit Europe.
Uefa has previously said it is looking into 40 suspected matches in the Champions League and Uefa Cup – the predecessor for the Europa League – from the last four seasons, mostly involving eastern European clubs in the early qualifying rounds.
Uefa has beefed up its early warning system to protect against illegal betting and match-fixing and president Michel Platini has described those issues as the greatest problem facing European football.
Limacher, speaking alongside German prosecutors and police officials at a nationally televised news conference in Bochum, said the arrests were proof that the detection system was working.
“We feel a certain satisfaction but on the other side we are deeply affected by the scope of game manipulations by international gangs,” Limacher said.
The prosecutor’s office in Bochum is Germany’s leading authority on fighting corruption and fraud.
The Berliner Morgenpost reported Thursday that Ante Sapina and his brother Milan were among five people arrested in Berlin.
Ante Sapina was convicted of fraud in 2005 and sentenced to 35 months in prison for fixing or attempting to fix 23 games by paying German referee Robert Hoyzer to rig matches Sapina and his brothers bet on. Ante Sapina’s brothers Milan and Filip were given suspended sentences.
Hoyzer was convicted of fraud and sentenced to 29 months in prison after admitting he had manipulated games mostly in German lower divisions on behalf of the three brothers, who made millions by betting on the games.