BELGRADE: Red Star Belgrade have consulted French lawyers with a view to launching defamation proceedings after L’Equipe daily alleged the Serbian club had fixed the result of a Champions League match with Paris Saint-Germain.
French investigators have launched a probe following suspicions that a senior Red Star official bet large sums of money on the side losing by a five-goal margin to the French league champions.
PSG beat Red Star 6-1 in the Champions League group stage on October 3 and L’Equipe claimed on Friday the official and accomplices had bet five million euros ($5.8 million) on the match with the aim of winning tens of millions of euros.
Red Star have vehemently denied the claims and on Saturday announced: “We have hired a lawyer in France who will examine whether we can bring charges against L’Equipe for defamation.
“Red Star expects the truth to be established and for the manipulators and gossips responsible for this affair to pay for their shameful act.”
The Serbian champions returned to Europe’s premier club event this season. They were European champions in 1991.
In the game in Paris, Brazilian star Neymar scored a hat-trick with PSG’s other goals coming from Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe.
Marko Marin scored Red Star’s only goal.
The original alert tipoff on Red Star was received by European football’s governing body UEFA which passed on the information to national authorities, another source said.
France’s online betting watchdog Arjel said it had seen no evidence of irregular activity around the match.
A “stunned” PSG announced Friday: “PSG points to its attachment to a fundamental principle of sport, that of the integrity of competition and, consequently, a refusal of any form of practice that could call into question this integrity.”–AFP