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Europol smashes football match-fixing ring

Biggest ever investigation into match fixing uncovers ring suspected of rigging 380 matches

Image Credit: AP
Britain’s Rob Wainwright, second from left, director of the European police agency Europol, takes his seat prior to elaboratingon findings of a probe into soccer match fixing during a press conference in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday Feb. 4, 2013.

The Hague: Police have smashed a criminal network suspected of fixing 380 football matches, including in the Champions League and World Cup qualifiers, Europol announced on Monday.

"It is clear to us that this is the biggest investigation ever into suspected match fixing," Europol chief Rob Wainwright told journalists.

At least 425 referees, players and other officials are suspected of involvement, with matches rigged so that major sums of money could be won through betting.

Most of the allegedly fixed matches were played in Turkish, German and Swiss championships, but other matches around the world are also concerned.

Two of Europe's Champions League matches and some World Cup qualifiers are also suspected, Europol said.

Europol showed television coverage of a suspect match, an international between Argentina and Bolivia, during which a Hungarian referee awards a highly dubious penalty.