Man United player in match-fixing investigation
EVERYONE who isn’t a Manchester United fan is currently irritated that they’re 3rd in the Premier League table as, after a long period of success, it would’ve been nice if they could’ve suffered just a bit longer.
Seeing as fans can’t mock their league position, here’s something to enjoy – one of their players has been dragged into a match-fixing scandal.
Man U midfielder Ander Herrera, along with Japan coach Javier Aguirre and Atletico Madrid captain Gabi and 38 others, have been named in a case of matchfixing involving a La Liga match in the 2010-11 season. Now, of course, everyone involved may well be innocent, which means we’ll have to say ‘allegedly’ a lot and, of course, enjoy this while it lasts.
So what’s the deal?
Well, Spain’s anti-corruption prosecutor has filed their case in a Valencia court today, following a probe into Real Zaragoza’s 2-1 win at Levante on the final day of the campaign. Fans of Spanish football will know that Zaragoza avoided relegation and that Aguirre was coach of the team at the time, which included Herrera and Gabi in the team.
Former Zaragoza president Agapito Iglesias and the club itself were also named as defendants, along with the rest of the players from both sides.
At the time of writing, a Real Zaragoza official had no comment to make, apart from the reiteration of the statement Zaragoza made on September 25th which said that they were “completely unaware” of events being investigated by the public prosecutor. Handily for them, the match occurred under a different board of directors, which means they’re probably telling the truth.
But what about the players?
In its court filing published today, the prosecutor alleged that the Levante players were paid a total of €965,000 (£766,000) in cash to deliberately lose the game.
It seems like a small amount of money for top flight football doesn’t it? It is almost quaint. You can imagine the defence in court might say: ‘Seriously though. These lads don’t need the money.’
The prosecutor added that they suspect Zaragoza first made bank transfers to its players and officials, including Aguirre, Herrera and Gabi, and they then took the money out of their accounts in cash and passed it on to the Levante players. It all sounds incredibly murky and if it is true, there could be some very damning penalties.
Of course, the team’s that were relegated instead of Zaragoza could seek compensation, just like Sheffield United did when it transpired that there were irregularities when West Ham signed Carlos Tevez, and he scored a goal that kept the Hammers in the league.