Former Al Wahda coach Javier Aguirre (right) Image Credit: Courtesy: Organiser

Madrid: Former Al Wahda and Mexico coach Javier Aguirre has denied taking money that was allegedly used to fix the result of a Spanish league game eight years ago.

Aguirre testified on Thursday in the match-fixing trial involving a game between Levante and Zaragoza at the end of the 2010-11 season.

Aguirre, Zaragoza’s coach at the time, is one of more than 40 people who could face two years in prison and a six-year ban from football if found guilty.

Prosecutors said there is evidence that €965,000 was paid to Zaragoza’s squad and later transferred to Levante’s players to lose the match in the final round of the season. Zaragoza won 2-1 to avoid relegation. Deportivo La Coruna were demoted as a result.

Former Zaragoza officials said the money was paid to motivate players, not fix the result of the game.

Aguirre and some of the players who have testified denied Zaragoza’s version that the money was paid as an incentive.

Aguirre said he received a deposit without his consent and returned the money to the club because it was not part of his contract.

The players said they were asked as a favour to the club to withdraw the money deposited into their accounts and return it in cash, which they said they did.

Among the 36 players accused are Ander Herrera, now with Paris St-Germain and Uruguay striker Cristhian Stuani.