KIEV, Ukraine: Ukrainian police have accused most of the country’s professional soccer clubs of match-fixing and launched a series of raids as the country prepares to host the Champions League final.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said 35 clubs took part in betting scams with total profits of about $5 million a year. He added players and referees were threatened or bribed up to 100,000 hryvnya ($3,800) to ensure the correct result in 57 games.
Ahead of Saturday’s match between Real Madrid and Liverpool, Avakov said the raids show that “football must be fair play.”
A presentation given by the police accused Vorskla Poltava and Zorya Luhansk, which finished third and fourth in the Ukrainian league, of involvement in match-fixing.
Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk, which have won every league title since 1993, were not accused.
Many of the cases seem to involve lower-league teams whose matches are rarely televised, making any fix harder to detect. Police aired what they said were recordings of conversations between club officials and referees discussing match-fixing.
Speaking on Tuesday, Avakov said suspects could face charges of bribery and match-fixing.—AP