21 Nov 2009

Match-fixing inquiry focuses on 200 European games

7:34 am on 21 November 2009

German prosecutors are investigating the fixing of about 200 European football matches in connection with a series of arrests made this week.

A number of people have been detained in Germany and Switzerland suspected of influencing matches and placing bets on them with bookmakers in Europe and Asia, the BBC reports.

At least three of the games were in the Champions League and another 12 were in the Uefa Europa League, according to officials.

Uefa representative Peter Limacher called it the biggest match-fixing scandal ever to hit Europe.

On Thursday police carried out about 50 raids in Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Austria, making 17 arrests and seizing cash and property. Fifteen of those arrested were in Germany, while two were in Switzerland.

Matches under investigation were played in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Hungary, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Austria.

Officials say the games included the 40 which Uefa revealed in September were under investigation.

Prosecutors believe a 200-strong criminal gang has bribed players, coaches, referees and officials to fix games and then made money by betting on the results.

The investigation is being carried out by German authorities and supported by Uefa, the European football body.

All matches under suspicion are believed to have taken place this year, although prosecutors did not specify if they were qualifying games or group-round matches.